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April 12, 2013

Murphy Award winner: Mariko Moroishi Wei

Mariko Moroishi Wei

Mariko Moroishi Wei, associate professor of Japanese and linguistics, is a recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Awards in Memory of Charles B. Murphy. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
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Six exceptional teachers have been selected as recipients of the 2013 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Awards in Memory of Charles B. Murphy. This week, Purdue Today will feature a profile on each of the recipients. Today, we focus on Mariko Moroishi Wei, associate professor of Japanese and linguistics.

Mariko Moroishi Wei's commitment to providing engaging instruction, extensive mentoring and a highly effective curriculum in Purdue's Japanese Program have earned her high marks and praise from students as well as the honor of receiving a 2013 Murphy Award.

For 14 years, Wei, associate professor of Japanese and linguistics, has taught courses on Japanese language, Japanese studies and applied linguistics at undergraduate and graduate levels at Purdue.

"In today’s global society, multilingualism and cultural awareness are critical for our students’ professional and personal development," Wei says. "In my courses, I want students to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to understand and appreciate the language and culture of people from a society that is different from their own."

Wei, who won the College of Liberal Arts' Kenneth T. Kofmehl Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2012, has consistently received high scores on her teaching evaluations. Students praise Wei for her passion and enthusiasm, depth of knowledge, sincere interest in individual students, and the ability to create a fun and engaging learning environment.

"I loved everything about this course: the topics, the readings, and especially the professor," an anonymous student testimonial says. "This is the third class I've taken with her, and I loved every minute of each of my classes. In fact, I took this course largely because of who was teaching it this semester."

Wei has served as director of the Japanese Program since 1998. Wei's nomination notes her contributions to building the program, stating that courses created by Wei have opened new career opportunities for her students.

One student states: "Thanks to her very intriguing lectures, I found my career path. I am going to pursue a master's degree in linguistics at the University of Michigan. She is also very friendly, kind, funny, thoughtful, caring, and very personable. I love her class so much!"

Wei says she enjoys working with students outside of the classroom, counseling them on coursework, study-abroad opportunities in Japan, and post-degree options. Fourteen of Wei's Japanese majors have become English instructors through the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme. Others have gone on to graduate school or found jobs in Japan, including at companies with Japanese branch offices such as Google, IBM, IKEA and Intel.

"When my students find careers that are related to their Japanese studies, I am deeply rewarded because they have become bridges between Japan and their home countries," Wei says.