Issue Date: January 29, 2018 | Web Date: January 25, 2018
Neil Garg wins Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching
For his innovative approach to teaching, Neil K. Garg, a professor of chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles, is being honored with the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching from Baylor University. The award includes a $250,000 prize.
Garg developed online tutorials called Biology and Chemistry Online Notes (BACON) that feature real-life examples of organic chemistry. He led an undergraduate team to develop a smartphone app called Backside Attack for learning organic chemistry. In the classroom, he encourages students to produce music videos about organic chemistry. And in 2017, Garg and his two daughters published the Organic Coloring Book.
“Teaching is a critical part of our job as faculty and one where we have an incredible impact,” Garg says. He notes that the key to connecting with students is helping them see the value in what they are learning, in terms of both problem-solving skills and organic chemistry. He also stresses the importance of encouraging students to innovate.
“Neil addresses every aspect of education with the same mind-set that he approaches his world-class research in organic synthesis and catalysis,” says Miguel A. Garcia-Garibay, dean of physical sciences at UCLA. “He takes advantage of the newest technologies, he contextualizes complex material, he enables students to work together, and he treats every student with warmth and respect.”
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