Associate Professor Megan Macnaughtan
Graduate Teaching Award
Dr Macnaughtan has taught Chem4552 (Instrumental Characterization of Organic Compounds) six times and developed a new course, Chem7150 (NMR: Practice and Theory) that sustained a high level of student interest over a five-year period. Dr Macnaughtan was the recipient of a TAF Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2015.
In student evaluations, comments refer to “non-traditional teaching methods.” In Chem4552, Dr Macnaughtan has explored the notion of giving students the opportunity to “retake” the question they did most poorly on in a test. They go away and they learn the material that they were deficient in prior to the test. This seems to be both effective and appreciated by the students. In the words of her students:
- The overall class format was excellent. The instructor welcomed questions and took the time to answer them thoroughly.
- The class was great! Teacher knew material and made the class fun.
- She explained the theory really well using illustrations and diagrams.
- Very fun and interactive class.
- Dr Macnaughtan is an effective and enthusiastic teacher. The small class size encouraged good discussions amongst students and teacher.
An important component of graduate level teaching occurs outside the classroom; Dr Macnaughtan is often to be found in the lab, demonstrating techniques and practical skills to her research group members. After her decade at LSU we can see the medium-term impact of her advisory skills. She has already graduated four PhD students; three of whom were African American. Dr Macnaughtan leads by example and is a role model in our Department for the mentoring of female, minority and international students.
In 2016-17 Dr Macnaughtan co-chaired the Graduate Admissions Committee that brought in a class of 23 students in Fall 2017, of which 56% were women. Of the 12 domestic students in the class, 5 (41.7%) were from underrepresented minorities. In Fall 2017, Dr Macnaughtan stepped up to serve as Director of Graduate Studies. With Kim Mollere, Graduate Coordinator, she developed several new components to our orientation program for new students, creating a welcoming atmosphere for students and making them aware of our expectations, both academically and in terms of an inclusive community of scholars. Examples included an icebreaker game the first morning for students to get to know each other, their upper classmen buddies and key faculty and staff. Students also received first aid and CPR training in order that they better fulfill their roles as teaching assistants.
Dr Macnaughtan has a winning combination of high standards and dedication to student success in the classroom and the research lab. Her hallmark attention to detail and commitment to our graduate program have been beneficial to all concerned.