Chemistry professor Dennis Jacobs has been national Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the national Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, a trade group of college promoters and fund raisers.
He is the first Notre Dame faculty member so honored since the program began in 1981.
Jacobs has received national acclaim in recent years for a unique first-year general chemistry course he developed for students entering college with lower SAT scores in math. The course emphasizes group problem-solving and extra feedback. Studies have shown it improves the retention rate in the course for these at-risk students by 55 percent.
Last fall Jacobs launched a new course, Chemistry in Service of the Community, in which students interact with neighborhood residents to assess the threat of lead contamination in homes. He and fellow chemistry professor Bradley D. Smith, also recently launched an on-line survey site, TextRev.com, at which students rate textbooks, and teachers and book publishers can analyze the results for free.
Jacobs was named the nation’s top undergraduate educator in the category of doctoral and research universities, one of four categories in the awards program. The award carried a $5,000 cash prize.