Dr. Stuart Chen, a man of great faith, was appointed to his position by the Board of Directors in 2018. As Interim Head of School, Dr. Chen’s goal is to facilitate the provision of an excellent education to CCA students within a Christian worldview. Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it – Proverbs 22:6. Prior to his appointment as Interim Head of School, Dr. Chen served as CCA’s Academic Dean, Science Department Chair, Science Teacher and STEM Coordinator from 2016 to 2018.
Dr. Chen is a graduate of Lehigh University (B.S.C.E., M.S.C.E., Ph.D.). Prior to coming to CCA, he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar and Visiting Professor at East Kazakhstan State Technical University during the 2015-2016 academic year. As a Civil Engineering Professor at the University at Buffalo (UB), State University of New York (SUNY) for 26 years (the last 20 with tenure) he developed and taught courses in Computer-Aided Design in Civil Engineering, Expert Systems, Structural Analysis and Design, Steel Structures, Bridge Engineering, Engineering Mechanics, and Electronic Data Interchange Applications in Civil Engineering. Among these, Dr. Chen also developed, coordinated, and instructed a 6-credit graduate course in Steel Bridge Engineering sponsored by the National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA) at UB. This intensive 5-week course enrolled practicing engineers from eighteen state Departments of Transportation and approximately 24 universities nationwide.
He is the principal author of the provisions for effective slab width that have been in the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications since 2008 based on his research team’s NCHRP (National Cooperative Highway Research Program) project work in this area. Awards received include the prestigious Presidential Young Investigator Award (in 1990) from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Engineering Educator of the Year award from the New York State Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE). His research results have been published in Engineering Structures, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) journals, and Transportation Research Record, among others.
In addition to his teaching and research, Dr. Chen served on various committees, including: University of Buffalo’s Civil Engineering Undergraduate Studies Committee, Faculty Personnel Committee in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the university-wide Faculty Senate Committee on Research and Creative Activity; the ACI BIM Committee; the AASHTO/NSBA Task Group on Data Modeling for Interoperability; the ASCE/CI Committee on Digital Project Delivery; and the buildingSMART openINFRA Steering Committee. He currently serves on the inaugural Engineering Advisory Board for Houghton College, which recently received NYSED approval for its brand-new Engineering major which is now accepting applicants for its first (Fall 2019) incoming Freshman class.
During his last few years while working as an Engineering Professor at UB, Dr. Chen became increasingly curious about the K-12 educational pipeline into Engineering majors at the college and university level. Forecasts of workforce needs in the 3rd decade (and subsequent) of the 21st century point to the majority of new jobs creation being in STEM/STREAMM-related fields. Many of these jobs command very respectable salaries and can improve the quality of life not only domestically but also internationally – thus providing an important avenue for fruitful service in an increasingly globalized economy.
So why do relatively few people who are not Asian or Caucasian males emerge from high schools to pursue such fields at the university level? Why do some middle school students with aptitude in STEM/STREAMM-related fields fall out of the pipeline before graduating from high school? Why do so many Christians have such a limited view of what the Great Commission is and how they can deploy themselves to support it financially and carry it out incarnationally? How can these gaps be addressed better in the formative pre-college years?
Early retirement from UB became the first step towards migrating his vocational focus to tackle the challenges presented by such questions in a setting near and dear to his heart: the private Christian college-preparatory K-12 educational setting to which he sent his own children as a tuition-paying parent. Thus did a 27-year Engineering Professor and ordained church elder find himself serving as Interim Head of School of Christian Central Academy.
His industry experience (4 years as a Civil/Structural Engineer), his university years in Engineering Education and Research as summarized above, and his leadership and service experiences provide a unique multi-faceted and appropriate “begin with the end in mind” perspective to the Head of School position of a K-12 school that is seeking to prepare its future graduates for the challenges of the next few decades of the 21st century.