Department News

William D. Jones—William H. Riker University Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching

May 10, 2019

Bill JonesWilliam D. Jones, the Charles F. Houghton Professor of Chemistry, will be presented the William H. Riker University Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching at the University's Doctoral Commencement Ceremony on Saturday May 18, in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. The award recognizes a faculty member who has excelled in graduate instruction, particularly in the University’s doctoral programs.

Professor Jones has throughout his 40-plus year career done an exceptional job teaching and mentoring dozens of graduate students. Rochester faculty who have worked directly with him offer enthusiastic support for him, and his former students uniformly provide passionate testimonials of his instruction, which has often served as a model for their own distinguished careers.

Jones has taught with clarity extremely difficult and technical chemistry subjects at the graduate level. He has also implemented innovations in graduate student professional development, teaching a graduate seminar course that covers practical issues from how to successfully pass the cumulative exams in your second year, to how to pick a research advisor. As a graduate advisor, his mentorship of his students is especially noteworthy. He gives them space to work independently and to find their own path, but he is very involved when teaching them how to perform highly technical skills.

Jones has a large circle of former students who have benefited from his instruction and mentorship. All point to specific instances whereby their professional careers were significantly altered by his mentorship. He forever changed the way these former students approached teaching, within the classroom and the laboratory, such that they have adopted his methods and practices in their own scientific and teaching careers. 

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