Two Franklin & Marshall College professors of chemistry, Rick Moog and James Spencer, were recently honored for their commitment to a teaching style that emphasizes group learning, deep conceptual understanding, and the development of higher-order thinking skills. They are pioneers of POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) and other guided-inquiry approaches in the classroom and laboratory.
Moog and Spencer are the first F&M professors to receive the James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry, presented by the Northeast Section of the American Chemical Society, which has given the award annually since 1951. They will share the award — which will be presented in Boston on Nov. 12 — with Frank Creegan, the W. Alton Jones Professor of Chemistry, emeritus, at Washington College.
Moog, director of the POGIL Project on campus, and Spencer, who holds the College's William G. and Elizabeth R. Simeral Emeritus Professorship, began using guided inquiry in their teaching nearly two decades ago.
Among the many peers who nominated them for the 2015 Norris Award is Pratibha Varma-Nelson, chemistry professor and director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
"The work of Rick Moog, Jim Spencer and Frank Creegan has contributed greatly in transforming the way chemistry is taught in the U.S. and abroad," she said.