The American Chemical Society (ACS) recently named University of Central Oklahoma chemistry professor Cheryl Frech, Ph.D., to the 2013 class of ACS Fellows. Frech is the first ACS Fellow from UCO and one of seven in Oklahoma.
Frech, who for eight years served as chair of UCO’s Department of Chemistry, has more than 20 years of experience teaching and mentoring chemistry students, developing student-centered classroom methods and supporting faculty development. Additionally, Frech has served the ACS in local, regional and national roles, is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Chemical Education and is chair of the ACS committee on public relations and communications.
The ACS Fellows Program was created by the ACS Board of Directors to recognize members of ACS for leadership and excellence in science, the profession, education, management and volunteer service to the ACS community.
“Cheryl’s approach to student learning depends on students taking an active role in their own learning,” said Luis Montes, Ph.D., chair of UCO’s Department of Chemistry.
“In addition to the many teaching honors Cheryl has received at UCO, our former university provost often referred to Cheryl’s teaching methods as a model for other faculty to emulate when he encouraged them to embrace a more student-centered approach to their courses,” Montes continued.
Frech’s approach to the classroom arms her students with tools that they can use throughout their college careers. She encourages her mostly freshman and sophomore students to identify their personal learning style and to employ skills she teaches in her classroom, like reading for comprehension and best practices for preparation for classes and exams, into their complete academic careers.
“The bulk of my students are 18, 19, and 20 years old, and they usually have a dream. They’re taking chemistry because they’re trying to become something. Helping them through that stage of their life, and helping them understand how they learn – that’s great,” Frech said.
In addition to teaching, Frech has served in leadership roles on a variety of UCO task forces and teams. As department chair she helped to create development activities for all UCO department chairs, and more recently has partnered with the Office of Academic Affairs to establish an interdisciplinary mentoring program for new UCO faculty.
“Cheryl’s most lasting impacts on the ACS, UCO, and the discipline of chemistry in general will not be a result of only what she does, but it will most significantly include what she has encouraged and enabled her students and colleagues to do as well,” Montes said.
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For more information about UCO’s Department of Chemistry, visit www.uco.edu/cms/chemistry.