By Tatum Lyles Flick
Marketing & Communications Manager
The UW-Madison Department of Chemistry presented the James W. Taylor Teaching Award to Dr. Liana Lamont, who shared her instructional expertise and philosophy in a talk titled, “General Chemistry Curriculum Redesign – Successes and Challenges.”
The event was one of the first opportunities the department had to use the new North Tower’s Learning Studio with a live video stream, and to celebrate the legacy of former faculty member Jim Taylor’s approach to teaching – care about students and be enthusiastic about chemistry.
“Her impact has been absolutely huge,” said Professor Thomas Brunold, who added that students felt comfortable attending Lamont’s office hours and asking questions, and that she made many who feared chemistry, love it. “Her work is highly praised by her students and fellow instructors.”
Lamont shared what she’s learned in her career, including how to use impostor syndrome as a motivator, without falling into self doubt.
“This award feels validating and I appreciate it very much,” Lamont said, sharing credit with her colleagues and how the team shares their strengths. “I have tried to use impostor syndrome as a healthy driver to seek collaboration and engagement. My doubts and insecurity helped me to forge these relationships with collaborators.”
She appreciates her time teaching Chemistry 103 and 104, which helped her better understand how students and teaching assistants interact with learning materials, an understanding she has applied to her work with general chemistry classes and curricula.
Lamont looked to the future, hoping the department will continue fine tuning the curriculum and help students learn in more active and inclusive ways, with advanced tools, and continued collaboration.
The department also celebrated winners of the Outstanding Chemistry Teaching Assistant Awards, including: Michael Aristov, Zach Bennett, Justin Dang, Sam Gavin, Austin Henke, Philip Lampkin, Katelyn Michael, Caroline Mohr, Robin Morgenstern, Edward Pimentel and Sam Wood. Many of the winners were chosen for their teaching and others were celebrated for helping with mentorship, training or advancing the curriculum.