Associate Teaching Professor Andrea Carroll was awarded a 2021 University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Award as part of this year’s UW Awards of Excellence.
The Distinguished Teaching Award was established in 1970 and five are given annually to faculty members at the University of Washington in Seattle. (The University of Washington Bothell and University of Washington Tacoma host separate nomination processes for the Distinguished Teaching Award.) A committee of faculty members, graduate students and staff educators appointed by the UW Center for Teaching & Learning selects recipients based on their mastery of the subject matter; enthusiasm and innovation in the teaching and learning process; ability to inspire independent and original thinking in students; innovations in course and curriculum design; and service as a mentor, collaborator and consultant to other faculty members and teaching assistants. Seattle faculty members who receive this award are inducted into the UW Teaching Academy, where they will be able to participate in a variety of Academy-sponsored projects and events to further excellence in the teaching and learning process at the UW.
Professor Carroll was recognized for her instructional efforts in Preparation for General Chemistry (CHEM 110), General Chemistry (CHEM 162), Analytical Chemistry (CHEM 321), General Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM 142/152/162), and Accelerated General Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM 143/153). Most of these courses are entry-level courses that involve interaction with first-year students who are adjusting to the pace and rigor of college. Her students describe Carroll as a professor who is not only “exceedingly knowledgeable,” but also “enthusiastic and motivating.” To provide a positive learning experience for her students, Carroll generously gives her time by holding extensive office hours and encourages her students to reframe failures as feedback when they struggle.
In her letter of support, Professor Sarah Keller wrote that Professor Carroll “completely reconfigured the first-year [General] Chemistry Laboratory curriculum and course design” into a more organized and relevant part of the general chemistry courses “through years of intense work.” Carroll’s efforts in orchestrating lab courses provided consistency of course organization and policies from quarter to quarter and instructor to instructor, mitigating the impact of a large-scale and complex course series on all stakeholders: students, faculty, TAs, and support staff. By providing and upgrading graduate student TA training sessions and utilizing online grading platforms, she helped graduate students transition to the role of a teacher and greatly improved the efficiency and consistency in TA grading.
During the COVID era, when everything moved online, it was especially difficult to adjust the laboratory curriculum into an online format. Professor Carroll developed new resources to support students as they prepared for the remote lab sessions and completed their pre-lab quizzes. She organized experienced TAs into “expert teams” to design PowerPoint presentations with typical experimental information: background, safety, waste disposal, reagent handling, instrument and equipment tutorials, data collection, and data analysis. She coordinated a team of laboratory instructional staff and TAs in the creation of a series of pictures and short videos demonstrating the critical aspects of the experiments that students would be missing by not performing the labs in person. During the remote lab sessions, TAs have presented the experiment tours accompanied by real data sets assembled to provide students with the best experience of online labs.
In addition to her instructional efforts, Professor Carroll is the faculty coordinator for the UW in the High School CHEM 110 program, supporting more than two dozen teachers statewide who guide several hundred students through the Preparation for General Chemistry course each year. At the university level, Professor Carroll serves as a member of the Faculty Council of Student Affairs and as the chair of the UW Advisory Committee on Student Conduct, where she leads the committee in reviewing and evaluating student conduct processes and outcomes and making recommendations to the Faculty Council on Student Affairs for potential revisions to policies and procedures. She is also a faculty representative on the Committee on Academic Conduct, an advisory body to the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct for investigating and adjudicating allegations of academic misconduct for students enrolled in the College of Arts & Sciences.
Story by Jiaying Yang