Mary Elizabeth Anderson, associate professor of chemistry, is Furman University’s 2021-2022 SCICU Excellence in Teaching award recipient.
Each year, the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) recognizes and celebrates outstanding professors through the Excellence in Teaching Award program. A member of the faculty from each of the 20 members institutions is selected, using criteria determined by each institution.
Anderson teaches general, analytical, and inorganic chemistry courses and trains undergraduate students in an active research group that investigates the bottom-up assembly of thin films and nanomaterials. In her courses and research lab, she encourages students to ask clarifying and probing questions while providing them with structured guidance to strategically approach problems through logical analysis. She received the Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award in 2019 in recognition of her devotion to both teaching and research.
For her courses, Anderson has instituted peer-partnered learning programs, developed teaching lab experiences and infrastructure, and created engaged learning activities for lecture and lab. She invests in students, preparing them to learn chemistry and helping them identify potential career paths. During her time at Furman, she has developed and led departmental programming for chemistry majors to help prepare them for their post-college careers.
Anderson’s students are actively involved in NSF-funded research at all stages of the process, from data collection and analysis to dissemination of results. She has mentored 36 research students, published 11 papers with 25 student coauthors, and had 59 external student research presentations. This spring, she and her undergraduate researcher received the American Chemical Society’s Division of Inorganic Chemistry Award for Undergraduate Research.
In her teaching, one of her aspirations is that students will see the beauty in science just as she does when she captures images of the nanoscale world with her research microscopes.
Anderson has a Ph.D. in chemistry from Pennsylvania State University and a B.S. in chemistry from Samford University. In Fall 2018, she moved to Furman after beginning her independent career in 2010 at Hope College in Michigan.