Chemistry’s Reilly Rewarded With Spot in Dean’s Teaching Showcase

College of Sciences and Arts Dean Ravindra Pandey has selected Lorri Reilly, for this spring’s Deans’ Teaching Showcase. Reilly will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with other spring showcase members. Her selection makes her a candidate for the CTL Instructional Award Series.

Lorri Reilly
Lorri Reilly Dean’s Teaching Showcase Selection

Reilly is an integral member of the instructional team providing lab experiences for students in first-year chemistry. Department of Chemistry Chair Athar Ata called Reilly “the anchor of first-year chemistry labs,” noting that she has “worked tirelessly to ensure they continue running smoothly. Her efforts have been instrumental in maintaining an engaging and effective learning environment. Lorri’s enthusiasm and approachability have made her well-liked among students, many of whom regularly visit her in her office.”

Reilly’s responsibilities include preparing graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) for success in laboratory instruction by demonstrating labs. Additionally, she asks GTAs to carry out these labs in her presence. This ensures all GTAs feel confident with the curriculum and in their ability to guide undergraduate students. Furthermore, she monitors the labs to verify that safety regulations for chemical handling are followed by the first-year students. This helps the Department ensure students receive proper lab training in skills they will need in higher-level STEM courses. Since 1991, Reilly has trained over 30,000 students and several teaching assistants in first-year chemistry.

Reilly Contributes to Curriculum Development

Reilly has also contributed significantly to curriculum development within the chemistry department. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Reilly worked with the Department to adapt and develop instructional approaches that ensured that students still received essential lab training. Reilly played an integral role in a departmentwide project to revamp the curriculum for first-year chemistry labs.

“Providing meaningful hands-on laboratory experiences from the very beginning of a student’s academic experience is part of what makes Michigan Tech a leader in STEM education,” noted Maria Bergstrom, associate dean for undergraduate education. “The College of Arts and Sciences is pleased to recognize the significant instructional work of Lorri Reilly, and others like her, who help develop and deliver our laboratory-based curriculum. In recognizing Ms. Reilly’s contributions, we draw attention to the ways that impactful instruction is the result of a collaborative effort that benefits all students.”

A version of this story originally appeared in the March 8, 2024 edition of Tech Today, written by the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning

About the Chemistry Department at Michigan Technological University

Chemists at Michigan Technological University help students apply academic concepts to real-world issues and advance research making contributions to health and well-being, environmental protection, responsible use of materials, and climate stabilization. The Chemistry Department offers five undergraduate degrees, an MS and PhD in Chemistry, and an accelerated MS. Supercharge your chemistry skills to meet the demands of a technology-driven society at a flagship public research university powered by science, technology, engineering, and math. Graduate with the theoretical knowledge and practical experience needed to solve real-world problems and succeed in academia, research, and tomorrow’s high-tech business landscape.

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