UMKC Professor Named Outstanding Teacher

University of Missouri President Forsee honors Kathleen Kilway

Rather than allow her chemistry students to work just to earn a grade, UMKC Professor Kathleen Kilway demonstrates how discussions, studies, lab work, and reading are steps to the next levels of learning. These and other teaching patterns garnered Kilway the University of Missouri President’s Award for Outstanding Teaching.

Kilway joined University of Missouri President Gary Forsee at a ceremony in Columbia, Mo. on June 5, 2008, for presentation of the award. The honor carries with it a $15,000 stipend and invitations to participate in teaching forums throughout the UM system. Kilway also was recognized in 2008 with the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, conferred by Gov. Matt Blunt.

Kathleen Kilway pictured with Charles Wurrey (photo by Jill De Witt)

Kathleen Kilway pictured with Charles Wurrey
(photo by Jill De Witt)

Based on her observations of college students who labor over chemistry until they “get it,” Kilway leads workshops for area science and math teachers to demonstrate her teaching methods. In Kilway’s experience, educators are there not just to teach, but also to help students through the process. Instead of just acquiring knowledge, students become analytical and discover the value of experimentation.

Since Kilway began at UMKC in 1996, the number of students majoring in organic chemistry has increased threefold.

“One way I can gauge the positive effect that Dr. Kilway has had is her selection by UMKC’s Pharmacy students — for two years running — as Teacher of the Year, even though she is technically not part of the Pharmacy faculty,” said fellow chemistry professor Charles Wurrey, pictured above. “The other remarkable thing is the number of women signing up for chemistry classes. Dr. Kilway counsels them about the realities and the opportunities in chemistry and related science fields. She communicates her own genuine excitement about the field to them.”

In addition to her teaching assignments, Kilway participates in a variety of other student and faculty activities. She collaborates with fellow researchers in the departments of dentistry, physics, pharmacy and biology. With student groups, she acted as a judge for UMKC’s Annual Talent Show and served as a committee member for the Homecoming Court Warming.

Kilway received her B.S. (1985) in chemistry from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, In., and her M.S. (1987) and Ph.D. (1992) from the University of California, San Diego.

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