Vicky Minderhout is Professor of the Year

Nov. 17, 2011

Dear Colleagues,

I have spectacular news to share with you today. Vicky Minderhout, a professor of chemistry in our College of Science and Engineering, has been named the 2011 Washington State “Professor of the Year” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Vicky is the first Seattle University faculty member to receive this honor and one of only 27 faculty chosen nationwide.  

As I write this, Vicky is in Washington, D.C., accepting her award, but next week we will have the opportunity to celebrate her extraordinary achievement here on campus. I hope you are able to join with colleagues, students and others in honoring Vicky at 3:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 21, in the lobby of the Engineering Building (refreshments will follow in the Bannan Arboretum). 

Since joining our faculty in 1980, Vicky has stood out as an incredibly gifted teacher-scholar. She is admired by countless students, many of whom, not surprisingly, have gone on to remarkable careers of their own. Vicky was well into an already stellar teaching career in 1997 when she made a very bold change. She abandoned the traditional lecture for an approach known as “guided inquiry learning.” Her students now form small groups and engage in a vigorous exchange of ideas. With Vicky’s guidance, they become more invested in the subject matter and develop problem-solving skills that serve them well as students and later as professionals. 

Recognizing that other teachers might benefit from this innovative learning style, Vicky has published and presented extensively on the subject. With Associate Professor of Chemistry Jenny Loertscher, Vicky authored an active learning biochemistry curriculum that is currently being used at 50 other colleges and universities. As our nation continues to grapple with the challenge of improving science education, Vicky is demonstrating an effective way forward. 

And even as she helps reshape the pedagogy on other campuses throughout the country, Vicky is most generous with her time and expertise here at Seattle University. She is as much a mentor to her colleagues as to her students. Her commitment to active learning is a leavening force on our campus and her insight and guidance were particularly crucial in our recent Core revision process. 

As an institution deeply committed to student-focused learning, we are incredibly proud to call Dr. Vicky Minderhout one of our own. Please join me in congratulating her on this outstanding honor and in thanking her for exemplifying the very best of our educational mission. I look forward to seeing you at the celebration next Monday.

Sincerely,

Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.

President

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