(May 11, 2022) Instructor Candace Wall has been named the recipient of the 2022 University Sporn Award for Excellence in Teaching Introductory Subjects. The award, sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and the Virginia Tech Academy for Teaching Excellence, recognizes a Virginia Tech faculty member nominated and selected by undergraduate students. 

“It is certainly not a surprise that Professor Wall received the Sporn Award,” said Dr. Patricia Amateis, Director of Undergraduate Programs for the Department of Chemistry. 

The student experience is at the forefront of Prof. Wall’s teaching philosophy.  Since joining the faculty in 2018, Prof. Wall has been an instructor highly valued by peers and students alike, teaching sections of General Chemistry, Chemistry Calculations, and the second semester of the department’s First Year Experience course for chemistry majors. In 2019, she joined the department’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Inclusive Excellence Program committee which aims to build inclusive educational practices in the sciences. One of the HHMI Committee's initiatives was the creation of a second semester of the department’s First Year Experience (FYE) course, named FYE2: Project Design Workshop.  Prof. Wall single-handedly developed this course with a goal of building an academic support community for students through unique projects and shared experiences. 

In her large General Chemistry courses, she is known for her rapport with and care for students. “Large lectures can feel distant and impersonal,” according to the VTx story about the award, “so she began incorporating active-learning strategies and reflection techniques to improve the classroom experience for her students.”

“Students love her informal but clear lecture style; they appreciate her sense of humor and the level of support and concern that she has for her students,” added  Dr. Amateis. “She also tremendously supports her teaching colleagues with her vast knowledge of the use of technology in the classroom and she is an integral part of the General Chemistry teaching team.” Congratulations, Prof. Wall!