Drew University Professor Receives Award for Research Developing STEM Skills

Juliette Lantz’s project aims to measure and build both hard and soft skills among STEM students

September 2023 – Drew University Professor of Chemistry Juliette Lantz has received the James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry. The Norris Award is a national award presented by the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society to recognize outstanding contributions to the field of chemical education.

Lantz and her fellow lead principal investigators Dr. Suzanne Ruder (VCU) and Dr. Renee Cole (University of Iowa) had previously been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for their research project creating a web application for instructors to assess student development of transferable skills such as critical thinking, information processing, communication, and teamwork.

“My collaborators and I are beyond delighted to have the culmination of our last twenty years of scholarly work and discipline-based education research be recognized through this prestigious award,” said Lantz.

“We’ve always been driven to create classroom materials, instructor tools, and assessment strategies that can be easily adopted to enhance student learning and student development across all STEM disciplines, and chemistry in particular. Receiving this award not only validates the broad utility and importance of these innovative curriculum materials and strategies that we have created through our collaborative research project—it also serves to help further disseminate these materials among additional STEM instructors, increasing their impact in STEM classrooms.”

Lantz’s curriculum development efforts center on student-centered, active learning strategies that also develop professional skills. Students are able to construct their own understanding of chemistry and other STEM concepts while also building these transferable skills.

“I think building these skills is a core of a liberal arts education and is especially important key for our students’ success in their undergraduate STEM programs as they move into upper-level courses and immersive experience,” said Lantz. “I’ll keep striving to optimize this type of classroom learning environment for my chemistry students at Drew, and promote these strategies across college campuses.”

Beyond the success of the project, Lantz is also proud that this research project has been led by three women scientists. “We’ve benefited from tremendous mentors as well as a national network that included fabulous colleagues and numerous professional development opportunities. And, of course, from the support of each other.”

More on the James Flack Norris Award can be found here.

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