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Department of Chemistry

Christer Aakeröy Receives Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

aikenssloansmProf. Christer Aakeröy is one of four Kansas State faculty members to receive the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching - the University’s highest teaching honor.

In addition to his instructional duties in our graduate program, and his direction of an active and well-funded research group, Christer teaches two first-year courses in our department: Honors Chemistry 1 and Chemistry 2.

Student feedback from Christer’s classes is consistently exceptional, and reflects the care with which he presents material, his engagement and availability with students, and his ability to convey difficult concepts through familiar analogies.

One measure of Christer’s effectiveness in the classroom can be seen in the enrollment trends in Honors Chemistry 1: for years, the department tried various strategies to increase enrollment in this class, but could attract only 12-18 students to it. Since Christer began teaching it, word has spread among students and advisors in various departments. Two years ago the enrollment stood at 45 – the capacity of room King 209 – with several students on the wait list. In 2010, we moved the class to a larger room, and 54 students enrolled.

Christer’s commitment to undergraduate instruction doesn’t end in the classroom. In the past four years, he has been a mentor to nine undergraduate researchers in his laboratory, who have presented their work at scientific meetings, co-authored publications, and advanced to great things: his most recent B.S. graduates are now pursuing their Ph.D. degrees at Washington University in St Louis, the University of Arizona, and the University of California-Berkeley. Four undergraduates are currently conducting research in his ten-person group.

Congratulations, Christer!