Michelene Chi named an ASU Regents Professor


Erik Ketcherside

Michelene Chi, a Foundation Professor and the Dorothy Bray Endowed Professor of Science and Teaching at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, has been named a Regents Professor. She is one of four ASU professors to have the title conferred this year, joining the 3 percent of ASU faculty members who have received the accolade.

Making the announcement, ASU President Michael Crow said, “These four new professors are recognized by their peers as being at the very zenith of their fields represent the outstanding faculty we have here at Arizona State University. Their transformative scholarship has contributed to our understanding of the world, and this latest honor is extremely well deserved.”

MLFTC Dean Carole Basile said, "Micki Chi's work is of utmost importance today as science learning is crucial for all students, and understanding the conceptions and misconceptions of young learners is critical for their own development and success. We cannot underestimate the importance of this work as the world continues to change and science and technology become pivotal to our economy and our civil society."

“I am most honored to be named a Regents Professor,” Chi says. “Recognition from one’s own university is most heartening and appreciated." An MLFTC faculty member since 2008, she also directs the Learning and Cognition Lab in ASU’s Institute for the Science of Teaching and Learning.

Nominations for the Regents Professor honor come from other faculty members. For Chi’s nomination, one colleague wrote, “Modern cognitive science would not be in the advanced state it is without [Chi’s] work of the past 40 years.” Another noted Chi has “... five papers that are seminal. I wish there was a Google index for percent of papers in a field that cite a given work — I suspect it would be stunning.”

In July, Chi was named the winner of the 19th David E. Rumelhart Prize in Cognitive Science. Often called “the Nobel Prize in Cognitive Science,” the award is presented annually to an individual or team making a significant contemporary contribution to the theoretical foundations of human cognition. Her Rumelhart award marked the first time the prize has been given to a researcher in the cognitive science of education. The Rumelhart announcement said Chi, “more than once has challenged basic assumptions about the mind and defined new approaches that have shaped a generation of cognitive and learning scientists. Chi’s work has taught us the importance of relating our science to the real world, and specifically to education. She has done so with the rigor of the lab, but without losing sight of the richness of qualitative data, the complexities of real-world content or the social context within which learning typically occurs.”