Meet the 2022/2023 Lecturers of the Year

Since September 2014, the Department of Asian Studies has been awarding annual prizes to two Lecturers to recognize and celebrate excellence in teaching in the Lecturer rank. It is with great pleasure that we announce Michiko Suzuki and Mingzhu Lu as our 2022/2023 Lecturers of The Year.



Michiko Suzuki
Lecturer in Japanese Language



Michiko is one of the most versatile, dedicated and conscientious of teachers who has performed her work in the highest degree of professionalism and has consistently earned superlative praises from both students and colleagues. Since joining UBC in 2000, she has taught Japanese language courses from 100- to 400- levels including Distance Education courses that were offered long before COVID-19 hit. Michiko has also worked collaboratively with colleagues to develop various kinds of course materials. Her most recent endeavor and contribution to curriculum development is singlehandedly revamping all the course materials for JAPN 400 and JAPN 401, Advanced Japanese Reading and Writing I and II.

Besides being an exemplary teacher and contributor to curriculum development, Michiko is an enthusiastic and invaluable supporter of all JLP co-curricular and extra-curricular learning activities. Being passionate about inspiring her students to understand the joy of reading, and to become independent and life-long learners, she is a founding and active committee member of the JLP Reading Club, which has expanded in scale over the past few years. Last year, she was one of the key organizing members of the first ever and very successful Japanese Language Program Writing Contest.

Michiko’s wide range of service includes serving as a reviewer for PRT since 2015, and as an organizing member of various events including JLP Open House, Singing Contest, and Movie Night. Beyond UBC, she has served as a judge for the BC Japanese Speech Contest as well as assisted with the organization of the Speech Contest in various capacities year after year. In all her work, she has always demonstrated the highest degree of collegiality, unparalleled thoroughness and keen insights into issues that others are not aware of.

Passionate about reaching out to the community, it should also be mentioned that she was an indispensable member of a video message production team when messages from UBC alumni, faculty members and students were collected and sent to Japan to reach out to people affected by the Great East Japan (Tōhoku) Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011.

We are very lucky to have such a dedicated and all-round colleague like Michiko. With heartfelt gratitude, we are delighted to present the Lecturer of the Year award to Michiko in recognition of her many accomplishments in teaching and curriculum development, and contributions to the Japanese Language Program, the Department of Asian Studies and communities beyond UBC.



Mingzhu Lu
Lecturer in Chinese Language



Ms. Mingzhu Lu commenced her teaching career in the Chinese Language Program within the Department of Asian Studies in 1999, and since then, she has played an indispensable role in the program’s success.

Her teaching experience spans a wide range, from introductory 100-level language courses in the non-heritage stream to the most advanced 400-level courses in the heritage stream, including the specialized Business Chinese course.

Throughout her 24 years of dedicated service at UBC, she has exhibited unwavering commitment to her students, consistently going above and beyond to cater to their needs. Whenever or whatever students may need to learn better, she will not hesitate to offer her help. Many of our colleagues have witnessed her staying behind and spending hours helping students with their homework outside her office hours. Mingzhu’s enthusiasm for her students and her genuine passion for teaching have made her an invaluable asset to both the Chinese Language Program and the Department.

Beyond the classroom, Mingzhu actively contributes to the program through her service and mentorship. She has coached numerous students for various cultural activities, such as provincial Chinese Singing Contests and Speech Contests, providing guidance on pronunciation, sourcing music, and even arranging transportation for auditions. Her efforts have not only resulted in her students achieving success, but also helped them derive enjoyment and enrichment beyond the confines of their coursework. Every year during the Program’s in-person Lunar New Year celebration, Mingzhu’s class leads with an exhilarating group dancing performance, reflecting her dedication to promoting cultural engagement.

Mingzhu’s commitment extends to her role as a supportive colleague. With a constant influx of new visiting instructors and colleagues joining the program, she has consistently extended her assistance in helping them acclimate to UBC and the Vancouver community.

In recognition of Mingzhu’s remarkable 20+ years of contributions to the Chinese Language Program and the Department, we extend our heartfelt gratitude for her unwavering dedication and service.