The POGIL Project Names Three Educators to Three-Year Terms on Steering Committee

Tuesday July 7th, 2018

The POGIL Project, a national not-for-profit organization that disseminates its unique student-centered pedagogy at the secondary and college levels and provides professional development opportunities for instructors, has named three educators to three-year terms on its Steering Committee.

The nine-member POGIL Project Steering Committee provides definition and direction to the goals of The Project.

The three educators are: Caryl Fish, Ph.D., St. Vincent College; Ashley Mahoney, Ph.D., Bethel University; and Kristin Plessel, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Rock County. They officially began their terms at the 2018 POGIL National Meeting in St. Louis in June.

Fish is a Professor and Chair of the Interdisciplinary Science department at Saint Vincent College. Her educational background is in environmental chemistry from SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She is interested in abandoned mine drainage remediation and science education. She has been involved with the POGIL project since 2006 and contributed to three NSF funded projects related to POGIL. Two projects were related to writing, reviewing, and testing analytical chemistry POGIL activities. The other project is developing and testing rubrics to assess and give feedback to students on process skills. She has also been a facilitator for POGIL workshops at BCCE and POGIL Regional Meetings. Currently, she is also working on developing a coalition of faculty interested in writing, reviewing, and testing environmental science activities.

Mahoney is the Associate Chair and Professor of Chemistry at Bethel University in St. Paul, MN where she has taught for 17 years. She began using POGIL pedagogy in the Fall of 2002. She has helped facilitate over 25 workshops across the country in addition to being the POGIL regional coordinator for the North Central Region. Mahoney has co-authored a collection of POGIL activities for the GOB (allied health) classroom available through Wiley. She has also assembled a national consortium of faculty to write inquiry laboratories for introductory chemistry courses. Her current research focuses on increasing metacognitive awareness in introductory level students to improve success in the course.

Plessel is a Nebraska native that has been transplanted in Wisconsin. She earned a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She joined the UW Colleges’ Rock County campus and chemistry department in 2010, and currently serves in the positions of Associate Professor of Chemistry and Institutional Assessment Coordinator. As a graduate student, Kristin was introduced to POGIL, which she immediately applied once she acquired a classroom of her own. For her use of POGIL in the classroom, she was recognized with the Arthur M. Kaplan Fellows Award, the Gil Sedor Excellence in Teaching Award for UW Rock County and the University of Wisconsin System’s 2016 Alliant Energy Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award. Creating POGIL practitioners and supporting their professional development, alongside serving her own students, have been her professional passions. Her personal passions include traveling with her spouse and two children.

"I am pleased to have such outstanding educators join our Steering Committee," said POGIL Project Executive Director Rick Moog. "Each brings a wealth of knowledge in both STEM education and student-oriented guided-inquiry practice. Their passion and vision for POGIL will help us in our goal of transforming education, both within and beyond the classroom."

Fish will have oversight of the Project's feedback process and development of an activity clearinghouse for POGIL-approved materials. She and Mahoney will share oversight of The Project's Strategic Plan Goal 2, which seeks to increase the availability of high-quality POGIL activities with a particular emphasis on those designed for use in STEM disciplines. Mahoney will oversee The Project's endorsement process. Plessel, who has been instrumental in organizing The Project's biennial conference for advanced practitioners and online offerings, will oversee The Project's Strategic Plan Goal 3, which focuses on increasing the diversity of the POGIL community and the students it serves.