Current Recipient

Kathryn Asala, Teaching Professor

Department of Chemistry

Kathryn Asala is a teaching professor in the Department of Chemistry who takes a scholarly approach to her teaching and advocates for research-based learning processes that have helped transform the culture of teaching STEM courses at UNC Charlotte. She envisioned a community of practice for STEM faculty and she sought partners to develop the Transforming STEM Teaching and Learning Academy. This has led to broader and deeper adoption of these student-centered learning methods across the University.

“Dr. Asala is widely known for her deep dedication to students; her pioneering, successful implementation of evidence-based practices in the classroom; and her effectiveness in collaborating with administrators and educators across many disciplines,” said Department of Chemistry Chair Bernadette Donovan-Merkert.

As a Faculty Fellow in the UNC Charlotte Office of Undergraduate Education, Asala is a proponent of student-centered pedagogies such as Peer-Led Team Learning and Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning. She developed a concept called TASL — or Team Approach to Successful Learning — to deepen student learning.

“I view myself as a facilitator of learning with classroom time being spent on maximizing understanding by actively engaging the students in developing concepts and problem-solving skills through well-designed activities and providing real-time feedback of their learning,” Asala said. “I am not satisfied as an educator until I have attempted to effectively help each individual student meet the learning objectives of the course.”

Asala received a grant from the UNC Charlotte Office of Assessment to evaluate student performance in the course CHEM 1252, and she is currently directing a grant from the UNC System Office to assess student learning in introductory chemistry courses.  She is working with the Office of Undergraduate Education on the Student Experience Project to improve student success and to close the achievement gap for students from underrepresented groups.