Author: hrpowers

Deans’ Teaching Showcase

John JaszczakDavid Hemmer, dean of the College of Sciences and Arts has selected John Jaszczak, professor of physics and interim department chair of Chemistry as our third spring showcase member.

Jaszczak’s contributions touch large-class teaching, curriculum development and assessment, three key areas the showcase tries to recognize. He has been a key contributor to the assessment process not only within his department, but also at the college and university level.

In the Department of physics, Jaszczak has led the effort in coordinating and communicating assessment data for PH 2100- University Physics I, with the goal of trying to identify and then assist students at risk of underperforming and getting off track on their degree schedule.

This effort has led to a campus-wide consensus on the proactive development of a new physics course, PH 2110 University Physics 1 Workshop. This workshop was developed by Senior Lecturer Katrina Black and piloted for the first time in fall 2018 by Physics Instructor Amanda Shaw.

As a new dean I have been blessed to have a colleague like John Jaszczak. He cares deeply about student learning. As associate dean, he spearheaded efforts to improve teaching and assessment in the College. More recently he has done a marvelous job leading the Chemistry Department during a transitional year while we search for a new chair. Even while leading chemistry, he is working tirelessly on efforts to improve outcomes in Physics 2100.—David Hemmer

On a broader scale, Jaszczak has been chair of the University’s Goal 2 committee since its inception in fall 2014. In this role, he has led efforts to help faculty think about and assess student learning in courses on the General Education Mathematics and Science Course Lists. Jaszczak has been instrumental in helping instructors pilot several different assessment methods, including a methodology to efficiently utilize electronically graded exams for students in large-enrollment classes. The method allows assessment without sampling, potentially providing statistically significant data that can be insightful for instructor-initiated action.

At a University level, Jaszczak has met frequently with faculty across many departments, led  well-attended Coffee Chats, and compiled, discussed and reported on assessment results. Hemmer  concludes, “It’s clear to me that Jaszczak has been and continues to be one of the key people at Michigan Tech helping to advance student learning in STEM.”

Jaszczak will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with 12 other showcase members, and is now eligible for one of three new teaching awards to be given by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning this summer recognizing introductory or large class teaching, innovative or outside the classroom  teaching methods, or work in curriculum and assessment.

CSA Researchers Participate in first TechTalks

Screen Shot 2016-11-16 at 11.55.24 AMOn Thursday, November 10, 2016, several researchers gave two minute presentations for the inaugural TechTalks session of the Michigan Tech Research Forum. Seven of the 13 researchers presented work from CSA disciplines, including the Distinguished Lecture:

  • Steven Elmer– Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology, Exercise As a Form of Medicine
  • Yang Yang – Department of Mathematical Sciences, Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations
  • Selin Philip – Department of Coginitive and Learning Sciences, Creating a Culture of Better Mental/Behavioral Health among the American Indians in the Keweenaw
  • Loredana Valenzano– Department of Chemistry, Molecules, Surfaces, Crystals: A Quantum Chemical Quest from Fundamentals to Applications.
  • Nabanita Saikia – Department of Physics, Emergent Frontiers in 2D Nanomaterials for Biomolecular Recongition and Self-Assembly.
  • Lynn Mazzoleni– Department of Chemistry, Introducing the New 2D-Liquid Chromatograph and High-Resolution Mass Spectrometer in the Chemical Advanced Resoulation Methods (ChARM) Core Facility at Michigan Tech.
  • Tarum Dam – Department of Chemistry, Enriching Health-Related Research Through Glycobiological Approaches.

Michigan Tech Research Forum events are presented by the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs in coordination with the Office of the Vice President of Research. Additional TechTalks sessions are coming up in Spring 2017. Interested in nominating yourself or others? Use this online form.

Browse the Twitter conversations in “TechTalks 2016: Take One,” by Allison Mills.


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Richelle Winkler gave the inaugural Michigan Tech Research Forum Distinguished Lecture on Thursday, October 13 at 4:00 p.m. in the Memorial Union Alumni Lounge. She discussed Making Research Matter: Democratizing Science and Other Lofty Goals.

Professor Hugh Gorman nominated Winkler, an associate professor of sociology and demography, for “community engaged scholarship” that extends across the Michigan Tech campus. Examples of Winkler’s projects include examining the feasibility—social and technical—of using mine water for geothermal heating systems in Calumet and examining the social, economic, and technical aspects of improving recycling in Houghton County. Both projects involve students and community members, and both have real impact in the communities. Winkler also conducts research on the changing demographics of anglers and hunters—and the implications for policy. She presented on this subject at the Department of Biological Sciences last spring.

Linda Ott blogs on STEM

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Linda Ott, Professor of Computer Science and Associate Dean for Special Initiatives in the College of Sciences and Arts, was welcomed as a guest blogger on STEMconnector.org.

STEMconnector.org seeks to bring science, technology, engineering, and math educators a way to connect their ideas to improve STEM education. In The Thrill of Computer Science For All, Ott details her excitement around President Obama’s initiative to expand K-12 computer science education funding.

“We can make a difference more quickly through a concerted effort to attract more students today.  Here are some of the things we are doing at Michigan Tech.  Perhaps others will find inspiration here for immediate action:

If all of us involved in computing do something—help advise a local FIRST Robotics team, teach a Saturday class on programming at a local library, talk to a local Girl Scout troop, invite area students and parents to see how you actually use programming—there will be an immediate impact.”