Professors Cathy Middlecamp and J.R. Schmidt Earn Distinguished Teaching Awards

Twelve faculty members have been chosen to receive this year’s Distinguished Teaching Awards, an honor given out since 1953 to recognize the university’s finest educators.
Chancellor Rebecca Blank and Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf will present the awards at a ceremony at 5 p.m. March 16 at the Fluno Center, 601 University Ave. The ceremony, sponsored by the Wisconsin Alumni Association with support from the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty, is free and open to the public.

Cathy Middlecamp, Professor in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Emil Steger Teaching Award

Cathy Middlecamp enhances student learning by providing well-structured opportunities for students to explore complex topics on their own and then share their findings and insights with one another. She understands the research on how students learn and bring those insights into the classroom every day. She always places whatever subject she is teaching in a broader context and has shown a deep appreciation of the need to help students to see how a particular bit of knowledge fits into a larger scheme. Middlecamp is also a compassionate listener and advisor who teaches students how to navigate classrooms, subjects, academic institutions, and life. She sees her students as whole human beings, and she facilitates learning by treating them with respect and compassion while setting high standards for their performance. Her stellar record not only of excellence in classroom teaching but also as a mentor and role model for students helps inspire her students as well as colleagues. Photo: Bryce Richter, University Communications

J.R. Schmidt, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award


J.R. Schmidt is a theoretical chemist who studies catalysis, alternative fuels, and carbon dioxide capture. He has been involved in restructuring the general chemistry program since the day he arrived, commanding a leadership position in general chemistry innovation. His efforts influence every student taking Chemistry 103 and 104, the two largest courses that educate nearly 2,000 students each semester. His work is helping to reduce the achievement gap and bring about massive changes in active learning in general chemistry. He is famous in the chemistry department for his ability to communicate complex ideas in beautifully understandable terms and simple analogies. Photo: Jeff Miller, University Communications

—University Communications