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George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education: Thomas A. Holme

by Linda Wang
January 2, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 1

Thomas A. Holme
Credit: Courtesy of Thomas Holme
Photo of Thomas A. Holme.
Credit: Courtesy of Thomas Holme

Sponsor: Cengage Learning and the ACS Division of Chemical Education

Citation: For his pioneering work in developing curriculum materials for pre-engineering students and advancing our understanding of measurement of student learning in chemistry.

Current position: professor of chemistry, Iowa State University

Education: B.S., chemistry and physics, Loras College; Ph.D., chemistry, Rice University

Holme on what he hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “I hope to make important contributions to improved use of technology in the teaching of chemistry. This includes not only new applications of tools—some perhaps not yet invented—but more importantly devising measurements that tell us if and how these new technologies work to improve student learning. We have to get past the inclination to judge technology in the classroom based on ‘is it cool?’ and instead devise better tools to answer ‘does it work?’ ”

What his colleagues say: “Tom’s vision for how to identify important indicators of student learning and create a process to achieve consensus amongst chemists has driven forward assessment and chemistry education. Because of his leadership as the director of the American Chemical Society Examinations Institute, the ACS exams have challenged chemistry faculty to move past measuring what is easily measured (plug-n-chug calculations) to measuring what is more valuable to know (conceptual understanding).”—Stacey L. Bretz, Miami University



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