Dr. Ping-Tung Chang Scholarship
Dr. Ping-Tung “PT” Chang was born on Oct. 16, 1935. He immigrated to the United States from Taiwan. Dr. Chang taught at the University of Wisconsin at Waukesha, Georgia State University, August College Georgia and Taiwan Normal University at Taipei, Taiwan. He also taught at and served as the head of the math education department at Laredo State University of Texas.
Dr. Chang was the first full time math professor hired by Matanuska-Susitna College. He was hired in 1989 and continued teaching there for nearly three decades. Dr. Chang focused his life on the wellbeing of both the college and his students. He founded the college’s Math Club. For many years, he organized food drives for needy families in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. He was recognized many times for his unique “grow your own” teaching methods and devotion to students. The Alaska Legislature issued citations in honor of him several times. He was recognized in 2001 and 2009 as the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Alaska State Professor of the Year.
In 2010, Dr. Chang was recognized as the CASE U.S. Professor of the Year, an unprecedented national award for an Alaska professor. Former student Matthew Maresh said in his introduction at the awards ceremony, “He works each day to make a difference in the community and the world by raising the educational standards. It is his belief that by helping educators to better teach, he helps the world.
“Dr. Chang has reached out to educators all over the world, including a one-semester sabbatical in China to establish exchange opportunities and to better compare the educational successes and failures of both cultures. By synthesizing an educational method from the strengths and weaknesses of both cultures, and by being open to new and old ideas alike, Dr. Chang has continued to improve education for students at all levels of education.
“More than half of the students taking math courses at the Matanuska-Susitna College start at a level below college proficiency. Dr. Chang is working with teachers in the community and across the globe to help lower that level and to better serve the struggling students who come to college hostile toward mathematics.”
On the occasion of Dr. Chang’s retirement in 2014, Mat-Su College Director Talis Colberg remarked, “Dr. Chang has been an enduring fixture at Matanuska-Susitna College. For nearly three decades this school has been his family and his life, and he will be remembered for a long time.”
Dr. Chang passed away in 2016.