2024 Taylor Teaching Award Symposium

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Learning Studio
@ 3:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Please join us for the Taylor Teaching Award Symposium on Monday, April 8 at 3:30pm in the Learning Studio with a reception to follow. We will honor the recipients of the Taylor Award for Teaching Excellence and the Outstanding Chemistry Teaching Assistant Awards. The annual symposium serves to honor great teaching and instruction in the Department.

Recipients of the James W. Taylor Teaching Award:

Lea Gustin – 2023


We’re all in this together” – this sentiment resonated repeatedly since my arrival at UW-Madison in 2019. During my first three years in the department, we faced a series of collective challenges, which served as an intensive crash course in the dynamics of successful classes and programs. Collaborating closely with staff and teaching assistants, I witnessed firsthand the importance of teamwork to go through the hurdles and contributed to the establishment of an ever-growing lab assistant program now integral to our department and the broader undergraduate community. Throughout the years, my objective has been to instill some “small university” feeling into the massive enterprise that is the General Chemistry program, fueled by the energy and dedication of our team members and students. This presentation will focus on the lessons learned from both pandemic and post-return disruptions, focusing on the key ingredients for the success (and acknowledging some failures) of our classes and the lab assistant program


Pam Doolittle – 2024


Last year I was honored as the recipient of the ACS J. Calvin Giddings Award for Excellence in Education, an award Jim Taylor also received in 2002. Besides his reputation as a prolific scientist in areas of chromatography and separations, J. Calvin Giddings was an outdoorsman and of all things, a rock climber, with a notable list of first summits and near summits. He was adventurous! Which resonates with our own family dynamic and the life lessons my husband and I sought to teach our children as they grew up. These life lessons translate and connect to the style of learning activities I’ve worked to design in our analytical courses, which have been found worthy of Giddings’ and Taylor’s named awards. The activities foster creativity, independence, confidence, and critical thinking in the analytical chemistry lab. My student experience in Jim Taylor’s Chem 621 class (in 1992!) inspired much of the structure of these design projects. Mentoring students (and kids) in this space involves elements of risk: Students will make mistakes and must offer explanations or solutions in the absence of a known answer. Risk is hard. “Risk” has brought heartbreak to our family. Winter break 2022, we suffered the loss of our beloved daughter, Cassy, who was a budding scientist and avid outdoorsman and rock climber, of all things, in her own right. In this talk, I share stories and wisdom gleaned from Jim, Cal, and Cassy, that ultimately led me to risk stepping back into the lab with renewed purpose to inspire enthusiasm in chemistry and the science of chemical measurement.


Thomas Brunold – 2024


In this brief presentation, I reflect on what I learned in my nearly 25 years of teaching at UW-Madison. As essentially all the courses I attended as a student were taught in a traditional information-delivery style, I initially adopted a similar format that forced students to assume a passive role. The Department of Chemistry’s REACH initiative provided an excellent opportunity to work with exceptional colleagues on developing a general chemistry curriculum that promotes active learning. This experience has significantly impacted the way I now teach at all levels. Some examples of the transformations I have made will be presented.


Recipients of the Outstanding Chemistry Teaching Assistant Award:

  • Madeleine Atwood
  • Dev Desai
  • Laura Elmendorf
  • Jared Lucian
  • Kyana Sanders
  • Rachel Tritt
  • Fengrui Wang


All are welcome to attend the public symposium, which will be held on Monday, April 8th at 3:30 p.m. in the Learning Studio at the Chemistry Building.

A reception will follow the symposium.