Michael Cheang


Associate Professor,
Department of Family and Consumer Sciences

Over the past twenty years, Professor Michael Cheang of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences has evolved his approach to his role as educator “from that of a teacher to that of a facilitator and learning partner.” This has meant that his teaching is more “grounded in learning theories and aligned with research on best practices across the nation.” His classes have become increasingly “more contextual, experiential and applied and as a result, student learning has become not only more meaningful but empowering.” This has generated greater purposefulness with respect to both greater competencies in students’ content areas and greater work-readiness with regard to securing and keeping jobs after graduation. A former student writes of Dr. Cheang “…with gusto! I sincerely believe I owe a great deal of credit for successes I have had in my academics and professional lives to the teaching and guidance I continue to receive from Dr. Cheang. Students do not simply finish his courses with new information, but the resources and knowledge of how to use the information in a way that truly makes the world a better place.” In one of the many ways Professor Cheang takes his teaching into the community, a community colleague describes, “Dr. Cheang uses humor to help audiences relate to even the most difficult topics. One of his great talks is called ‘What are We Going to Do About Mom?’ and explores family decision making in caregiving. He skillfully moves the audience through highly personal issues by having them role play in a case study. His work brings tears and laughter and ultimately helps us see their caregiving role in a new light.” His Manoa colleagues recognize Professor Cheang as having achieved significant “hallmarks of transformational learning in his students: critical changes in student thinking, problem solving, written and oral communication with interpersonal skills, and enhancements in social and emotional IQ competencies.” Certainly his students echo their experiences in these sentiments: “This class changed my life forever,” “A gift for conveying abstract material,” “A funny, knowledgeable, awesome professor who is a huge asset to UHM.” Students are fully aware that his expectations are very high: “He makes students work for their grades and never settles for anything less,” “Dr. Cheang challenges students,” “Very passionate, motivates students,” and, “He inspired me to do better and want to know more. Thanks, Dr. Cheang.” In the words of his colleagues, “Dr. Michael Cheang is a shining example of a renaissance professor making a difference in the lives of our students, conducting research and scholarship that matters, and contributes to an improvement in the quality of life for our most vulnerable citizens.”

Department of Family and Consumer Sciences