By Meranda Masse
Department Communications & Graduate Student (Cavagnero)
The Department of Chemistry chose two recipients for the James W. Taylor Excellence Teaching Award – Prof. Timothy Bertram and senior instructional technology specialist Dr. Rachel Bain.
Bertram began teaching at UW–Madison in 2015, and said that his teaching philosophy entails teaching at a pace that students can learn from and using examples that they care about. Bertram said that some of his favorite memories teaching are in small group discussions during office hours, where he saw concepts crystallize for his students as they made connections between topics.
When asked about how the pandemic has altered his teaching approach, he mainly commented on how bringing the classroom to a virtual setting is critical.
“I have attempted to recreate the classroom environment using a tablet to hand write my lecture notes,” he said, explaining that this allows for the students to be more engaged in the material, and also allows them to look back on notes from previous lectures.
While Bain is not a teacher in the typical sense, she plays a vital role in making teaching possible for her colleagues by serving in instructional technology. When instruction switched to mostly remote, Bain said how inspiring it was to see, “a great team effort toward making teaching and learning chemistry better.”
Bain has a “helping philosophy,” where she said how important it is to meet everyone where they are and come up with the best technological solution for their needs. She added that she is happiest working behind the scenes, but this award means a lot.
Also recognized were recipients of the Outstanding Chemistry Teaching Assistant Awards- Ray Czerwinski, Meghan Campbell, Kimberly DeGlopper, Madison Fellows, Matt Genzink, Matt Hautzinger, Amber Lim, Jericha Mill, Houston Smith and Natalia Spitha.