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Washington State University
International On Campus

Yang (Wendy) Liu Excellence in Teaching Award

Wendy’s life calls on us to be our best selves, to give to our students freely, and to look at each and every person in their best possible light.

The Yang Liu Award for Excellence in Teaching International Students was created in memory of Yang (Wendy) Liu who was an Office of International Program’s Intensive American Language Center (IALC) faculty member who taught Intensive English at WSU for nearly a decade.

Wendy was a bilingual Chinese/English speaker with a fervent passion for teaching Intensive English. She loved WSU, her students and the IALC faculty. She demonstrated grace, empathy, and excellence in her teaching and service to the University. She helped pioneer many of our best practices in working with Eastern Asian students. She also helped engage students and faculty outside of the classroom but always paid particular attention to creating an excellent teaching and learning environment for linguistically and culturally diverse students. She is recognized for being a leader among IP-IALC faculty in a number of capacities. Wendy passed away from complications due to cancer in 2019.

Wendy received her master’s degree in ESL Education at Washington State University in 2013. During her studies, she also met her husband Baoming (Paul) Zhao and together they have a son, Max.

Bala Krishnamoorthy, PhD, Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, WSU Vancouver

Bala Krishnamoorthy, PhD, professor of mathematics and statistics at WSU Vancouver, has been named the first recipient of the Yang “Wendy” Liu Award for Excellence in Teaching International Students.

Krishnamoorthy received the award at the International Students’ graduation gala on May 6. In a videotaped acceptance, he said, “I am incredibly honored to accept the Yang Liu award from International Programs. Wendy set a really high standard for teaching international students well. It is a great honor for me to even be considered for filling the shoes that she left.”

In nominating Krishnamoorthy for the award, PhD student James Asare noted, “In all three of Bala’s classes I took, what struck me the most was his careful approach in recognizing his classroom mix of international and local students and leveraging well-thought-out pedagogies to create a space that was expressive of understanding through active engagement. His style was very different from what I was used to, especially in advanced math classrooms – that he will take extra time in every class to explain plagiarism, appreciate the difficulty of what he was teaching, where a student was at in understanding, give extra time for assignment turn in to promote academic integrity, give make-up credit chances, respond to course emails at odd hours (I was guilty of sending some of these), and even drive down to Pullman (he taught the classes from Vancouver) for sit-ins where students could chat with him in-person about their concerns.”

Read the entire nomination here (pdf).

Photo of Bala Krishnamoorthy