F&M Stories

Socrates Citation in Honor of Richard Moog

If you walked into Rick Moog’s classroom in the past 30 years, you likely would not have found him lecturing. Instead, you would have seen teams of students interacting — discussing ideas, analyzing data, and working together to reach conclusions and master chemistry concepts. Professor Moog would be moving throughout the room, pausing to listen to the conversation and occasionally intervening with a question or encouraging comment, as the students experienced the joy of uncovering a new insight on their own. And later that day, you might have found him at women’s volleyball practice, observing and encouraging the team, and — when he was a little younger! — actively participating in drills and scrimmages alongside the players.

This active approach has been the hallmark of Professor Moog’s time at Franklin & Marshall, and has earned him an international reputation as an innovator in teaching, learning and education primarily through the development and dissemination of Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL), a team-learning instructional strategy that is now implemented at high schools and colleges across the country and around the world.

Professor Moog earned his A.B. in Chemistry from Williams College and his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Stanford University. He came to Franklin & Marshall in the summer of 1986, after two years in a postdoctoral position at Amherst College. F&M has been his home ever since.

Professor Moog has made complex topics accessible and meaningful to students in all of his courses — in regularly taught courses in general chemistry and physical chemistry, as well as advanced topics courses in lasers and in photophysics and photochemistry. His teaching excellence has been marked by numerous accolades, including the College’s Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (1999); the James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry (2015), and the Pimentel Award in Chemical Education from the American Chemical Society (2016), the highest honor in the field of chemistry education. His leadership of The POGIL Project, the non-profit organization he founded as an outgrowth of his innovative teaching technique, led the organization to be recognized as a STEM Community of Transformation in 2015. And, most recently (and particularly significant to him), he was inducted into the F&M Women’s Volleyball Court of Honor (2022) in recognition of his mentorship and support for over three decades.

Professor Moog’s contributions to science education include the seminal 1999 article “A Guided Inquiry General Course” (Journal of Chemical Education), which has been cited hundreds of times. He has presented POGIL workshops around the world and has published numerous articles on pedagogy and educational research. Over the years, he has also mentored 34 F&M research students and has published 20 research papers in journals such as the Journal of Physical Chemistry A/B and Chemical Physics Letters.

In addition to Professor Moog’s formidable accomplishments as a teacher and scholar, he has left an indelible mark on the F&M community as a mentor and colleague, bringing important alternative views and approaches to all of his work. He served as the mentor to the Miami STEM Posse 5 and provided early advocacy and support of STEM students engaging in study abroad programs. And the sound of “Rick Moog, Chemistry” at faculty meetings typically presaged a critical, yet helpful, viewpoint.

After his retirement from F&M, he will continue to bring his considerable enthusiasm and vast knowledge to effect systemic change in education as the Executive Director of The POGIL Project. We wish him well as he embarks on this exciting new chapter.

Socrates Citation in Honor of Richard Moog

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