Texas A&M University chemist Dr. Vickie M. Williamson has been selected to receive the Society for College Science Teachers (SCST) 2017 Outstanding Undergraduate Science Teaching Award (OUSTA) recognizing achievements that have enhanced the science teaching profession.

As the only interdisciplinary affiliate of the National Science Teachers Association dedicated exclusively to the study and advancement of college science teaching, the SCST is a community of college and university teaching scholars working to enhance science education through development and testing of best classroom teaching practices.

Williamson, an instructional professor of chemistry in the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry, will be presented with the award co-sponsored by Springer at the 2017 SCST National Conference, set for March 30-April 2 in Los Angeles. In addition to receiving a $1,500 check and a customized plaque, Williamson will serve as the event's featured speaker.

"Teaching is the profession that I chose because I love working with learners," Williamson said. "As a teacher, my job is to facilitate student learning to the best of my ability."

Williamson joined the Texas A&M Chemistry faculty in 1997 after serving a number of years on the faculty at Illinois State University. A member of Chemistry's First Year Program, she has successfully balanced teaching some of the department's largest introductory lecture courses, Chemistry 101 and 102, while conducting research designed to improve the teaching and learning of chemistry, often while mentoring undergraduate research assistants. Williamson's research, which focuses on visualization in chemical education, previously was recognized with the American Chemical Society (ACS) Award for Achievement in Research for the Teaching and Learning of Chemistry in 2015, the same year she was elected as an ACS fellow.

"I am delighted that Vickie has been recognized for her exceptional teaching and commitment to improving her teaching through innovation," said Dr. Simon W. North, professor and head of Texas A&M Chemistry. "We are extremely fortunate to have outstanding instructors like her engaged in our foundational courses."

Williamson served as a keynote speaker at the recent European Conference on Research in Chemical Education and as a chemical education research feature editor for the Journal of Chemical Education from 2002 to 2010. She served on the national ACS Division of Chemical Education Research Committee for two consecutive terms from 2000 to 2005, subsequently chairing the committee from 2011 to 2014. She has worked with the National Science Foundation to fund her own research and to evaluate the mini-grants given at the Gordon Research Conference on Visualization and Science Education. In addition, Williamson has worked with a number of students in the department's former master's of science in chemical education program, directing the chemical education research projects for the degrees and teaching graduate courses in chemical education. She was honored with a 2014 Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching and has worked with more than 20,000 undergraduate students during her nearly two decades at Texas A&M. Her student evaluations -- many which cite her skillful demonstrations of chemistry concepts -- are among the best department-wide. Williamson has served as a regional director for the Associated Chemistry Teachers of Texas since 2006.

"My research area is how to improve the teaching and, thus, the learning of chemistry," Williamson said. "I believe that learning is an active process in which the individual builds or constructs meaning from experiences and events that must be integrated into their existing conceptual frameworks."

Visit Williamson's website to learn more about her science teaching, research and service activities.

For additional information about the Society for College Science Teachers (SCST), go to http://www.scst.org/.


Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Vickie M. Williamson, (979) 845-4634 or williamson@chem.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Dr. Vickie M. Williamson

  • Williamson, pictured with 2014 American Chemical Society President Tom Barton at her induction as an ACS fellow in 2015. (Credit: American Chemical Society.)

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