Admired Chemistry Prof Wins President’s Award
Jun. 2, 2010
In recognition of his skills as an educator and mentor, Dr. John Sibert has received a President’s Teaching Excellence Award.
An associate professor of chemistry in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Sibert was selected from among 118 eligible faculty members who were nominated by undergraduate students. The award carries a stipend of $5,000.
“In parallel with his extraordinary effort in improving science education, Dr. Sibert has maintained his chemistry research program and continues to train undergraduate and graduate students in his laboratory. We congratulate him,” said Dr. Myron Salamon, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
Sibert has taught a variety of classes and currently teaches General Chemistry II, which is a large enrollment course of more than 200 students.
“Science, like mathematics, is learned through doing, not by listening to it being done. I try to ensure that the course structure reinforces a ‘learning by doing’ approach,” Sibert said.
Sibert’s students praised his teaching skills, saying, “He is the most encouraging, accessible and passionate teacher I have ever had,” and “his hands-on approach to teaching allowed me to fully understand the real-world applications of chemistry.”
Sibert was previously awarded a $250,000 Transforming Undergraduate Education grant by the UT System for developing a novel “Peer-Led Team Learning” program that creates small groups of students mentored by peers through demanding, large enrollment gateway courses.
“Chemistry is also a ‘contact sport.’ Students need frequent and diverse contact with course content and with me. Students in my courses know that I am available to help them,” Sibert said. “I want the students engaged in the course – if I’m not enjoying the journey through chemistry, then why should they?”
Sibert was recognized during the annual Honors Convocation on Friday, May 14. He received his PhD in chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin.