Wenzel named Maine Professor of the Year

Thomas J. Wenzel, Charles A. Dana Professor of Chemistry at Bates College, has been named the 1997 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Maine Professor of the Year, announced the Council For Advancement and Support of Education.

“This award celebrates what we know and value about Professor Wenzel’s dedication to his students,” said Bates President Donald W. Harward. “Bates is fortunate to share in this honor, especially since it acknowledges the value the College has always placed on teaching combined with the pursuit of research and scholarship.”

Wenzel, immediate past president of the national Council on Undergraduate Research, was recognized for national efforts to reform how analytical chemistry is taught. Based on the project-based teaching strategy he uses at Bates, Wenzel was selected by the National Science Foundation to deliver a “Best Practices” address at a conference on curriculum reform in Atlanta in April. He also was recognized for actively involving students in undergraduate research at Bates, his involvement with interdisciplinary programs of study and his curricular initiatives to involve more women and minority students in the undergraduate study of analytical chemistry.

“I’m honored that Bates even considered nominating me and thrilled to receive the award,” Wenzel said.

Candidates are selected from qualified peers at their own institutions and nominated for the award. A college or university may nominate up to three professors. Letters of support and endorsements from current and former undergraduate students, colleagues and presidents or academic deans must accompany the entries.

Wenzel, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University and a doctoral degree from the University of Colorado, was named a Dana Professor by the Charles A. Dana Foundation in May. He was named a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Scholar in 1990 and has been awarded 11 National Science Foundation grants since he began teaching at Bates 16 years ago.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Professor of the Year Program increases awareness of the importance of undergraduate instruction by honoring individuals who bring respect and admiration to the scholarship of teaching. In rewarding faculty members for their achievements as undergraduate teachers, the program seeks to enhance recognition of the value of instructional excellence and to demonstrate to the public the central importance of teaching.

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