Suzanne Ruder to receive national award for excellence in chemistry instruction

August 21, 2023

The Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society has named Suzanne Ruder, Ph.D., associate chair and professor in the Department of Chemistry in the Virginia Commonwealth University College of Humanities and Sciences, and two of her colleagues as the recipients of the 2023 James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry.

Ruder, along with Renée Cole, Ph.D., a chemistry professor at the University of Iowa, and Juliette Lantz, a chemistry professor at Drew University, will receive the award for their work together on the National-Science Foundation-funded Enhancing Learning by Improving Process Skills in STEM (ELIPSS) Project, which focuses on the identification, development, and assessment of process skills — also known as professional skills, practical skills, workplace skills, transferable skills, or soft skills — in undergraduate STEM classrooms.

“Their contributions to chemistry education on the ELIPSS Project highlight how the thoughtful development of the assessment of process skills, including the development of rubrics, can or may have application at all levels; the rubrics can be used by instructors of chemistry from high school to the postsecondary level,” the organization said in a news release. “The ELIPSS Project allows students from all STEM disciplines to self-assess their ability to think critically, solve problems and communicate effectively. These process skills are crucial for the development of a workforce that is prepared, agile and in possession of the interpersonal, communication and cognitive skills necessary to be effective team players.”

The James Flack-Norris Award recognizes outstanding achievement in the teaching of chemistry. It recognizes dedicated teachers of chemistry at any level whose efforts have had a wide-ranging effect on chemical education. An awards ceremony is scheduled for this fall.

“This year’s award celebrates these three champions of chemistry education research who have had a significant impact on the advancement of student-centered active learning approaches for teaching in the chemical sciences and STEM more broadly,” the organization said.