Conference picture

Past Winners of the Teacher of the Week

Joseph Merola


The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) recognizes Joseph Merola, professor of Chemistry, for excellence in teaching across all levels of instruction from large General Chemistry classes of 320 students to mentoring graduate and undergraduate researchers one-on-one.

Merola's approach to teaching is to try and make each experience of his students a personal one, even in large lecture halls. For the latter, he has adopted several techniques using technology so that he can interact with students in all corners of the room. Using wireless display technology and an iPad or a Surface Pro Tablet, he can wander the room so that no student feels that they are too far away from the lecturer. Merola has presented on that subject in various CIDER conferences.

Joe joined Virginia Tech in 1987 and, over his time here, he has won three College Certificate of Teaching Excellence Awards, the Alumni Award for Teaching Excellence and the William E. Wine Award for Teaching Excellence. In 2015, Joe was inducted as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science based, in part. on his record of teaching excellence. After the end of a large lecture general chemistry course in Fall of 2016, a student emailed Merola: "I took Chem in high school and hated it, and even though I barely got a 'B' in your class, thanks to you I don't hate Chem that much anymore. I think you are a wonderful person and I am very pleased to find that Virginia Tech employs fantastic teachers like yourself. It makes me proud to attend university here."


( 598 )

Nominate a
Teacher of the Week

The goal of the Teacher of the Week program is to recognize effective, engaged, and dynamic teachers. Please consider nominating a teacher; the process is clear and concise (no dossiers; see nomination page).

View Past Winners

A list of the past winners is available.