The Catholic University of America

September 16, 2011

World’s Largest Scientific Society Honors Chemistry Professor

  Diane Bunce
  Professor Diane Bunce

Catholic University Professor of Chemistry Diane Bunce has won the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) 2012 George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education for “outstanding contributions to chemical education.”

The ACS is the world’s largest scientific society, representing professionals in chemistry-related fields — from agriculture to industry. There are 163,000 members worldwide.

Bunce has “long been recognized as an international leader” in chemical and science education, says L.R. Poos, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.

Poos says he expects her recent, major award to draw further favorable attention to the University’s graduate program in chemical education.

“Catholic University’s doctoral program in chemical education that Professor Bunce directs will also gain in prominence and in its ability to attract top applicants,” he explains.

Bunce has won numerous awards for developing clear and engaging instructional techniques for chemistry educators around the world. And she employs these with her students at Catholic University.

She conducts research on the effectiveness of student response systems or clickers; student attention patterns during lectures and other pedagogical approaches; and eye tracking technology to determine how novice students view teaching animations.

Bunce is well known also for presentations to general audiences on the chemical reactions in everyday life, from Thanksgiving dinner and dyed Easter eggs to over-the-counter medicines and cosmetics.

“The underlying philosophy of these outreach efforts is that chemistry is all around us, and everyone should be able to understand chemistry if they so choose,” Bunce explains.

Bunce will receive the Pimentel Award and a $5,000 prize at a black-tie dinner at the American Chemical Society’s meeting and exposition in San Diego, Calif., in March 2012. Also during the conference, a daylong symposium will be held in her honor, in which fellow scientists will make presentations on projects influenced by Bunce’s work. Bunce plans to deliver the keynote address on mentoring, which she describes as “the ideal teaching and learning experience.”

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