Congratulations Dr Madeleine Schultz, winner of the RACI Chemistry Educator of the Year Award
Good Practice
Awards and Recognition
Dr Madeleine Schultz, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry in Deakin’s School of Life and Environmental Science (LES) has recently been awarded the Chemistry Educator of the Year award by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI). The RACI has acted as the key body advocating the interests and activities of the chemical sciences since 1917 and the Chemistry Educator of the Year award is designed to encourage developing teachers in undergraduate or postgraduate University courses.

‘I am absolutely delighted to receive this highly competitive award,’ said Dr Madeleine Schultz. ‘My twin passions are improving student learning through the use of evidence-based teaching practices, and incorporating sustainability into chemistry education.’

Madeleine’s educational research explores improved approaches to support students of all ages to learn chemistry via better understanding of student backgrounds, development of scaffolded online modules and explicit use of multiple representations. Together with LES colleagues, she has investigated the complex array of factors impacting success in large first year units SLE133 and SLE155, and how engagement was impacted by the move online in 2020. In parallel with this, she has a strong background in supporting the professional development of chemistry teachers to use best practice for holistic understanding. Since commencing at Deakin in 2018, she has initiated professional development workshops for LES sessional staff, focussing on the specific challenges of teaching chemistry and other sciences.

Following an undergraduate science/law degree at ANU with first class honours in chemistry (1995), Madeleine moved to the University of California (Berkeley) for her PhD (2000). She completed her world tour with a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Heidelberg before returning to Australia. She has since worked at three Australian institutions as her research focus moved gradually from doing chemistry to improving the teaching of chemistry.

Madeleine founded and directs the Chemistry Discipline Network, a community of practice for tertiary chemistry educators. In 2019 she co-developed (with Dr Seamus Delaney, from the School of Education) the UNESCO-funded Periodic Table of Sustainable Elements outreach activities and was part of a Deakin team that brought this event to seven disadvantaged schools in rural and remote Victoria.

Madeleine recently spoke with us about her continuing commitment to the betterment of teaching practices. ‘I would love to chat with anyone interested in chemistry or science education, schools outreach, pedagogical content knowledge for chemistry, misconceptions, or student efficacy.’

Congratulations Madeleine!

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