MACON – Dr. Sylvia Bridges, senior lecturer of chemistry in Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, received this year’s Innovations in Teaching Award, co-sponsored by the Vulcan Materials Company and the University.
The annual prize, presented by Provost Dr. D. Scott Davis at this year’s faculty awards ceremony on April 29, recognizes the efforts of a Mercer undergraduate faculty member who successfully provides student engagement learning opportunities in and outside the classroom.
“Dr. Bridges epitomizes the excellence in teaching that we prize in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She is devoted to her students and to making improvements in the delivery of organic chemistry courses,” said Dr. Anita Olson Gustafson, dean of the College. “Dr. Bridges is more than deserving of this award.”
Dr. Bridges joined Mercer’s Chemistry Department as a lecturer in 2014 and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2019. In addition to her classroom and research activities, she serves as coordinator of organic chemistry, responsible for organizing laboratory sections and ensuring uniform content coverage.
“Dr. Bridges represents the best that Mercer has to offer, from her experience as an undergraduate chemistry major to a colleague and leader today,” said Dr. Adam Kiefer, Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry. “She is recognized by both students and her peers as being an excellent teacher, mentor and colleague. Her enthusiasm for teaching and probing ‘why we do what we do’ is unparalleled, and her organizational skills and creativity allow her to push the envelope and develop new and successful opportunities for student engagement in both the classroom and laboratory.”
Dr. Bridges is credited with ushering in a new era in teaching organic chemistry at the University through significant contributions from developing innovative laboratory experiences for students to creating synergies among faculty to advance new curricular approaches. She has developed new laboratory exercises, improved existing ones and created methods to demonstrate student learning.
“I am honored to be recognized from among the excellent faculty here at Mercer,” said Dr. Bridges. “Organic chemistry is a challenging course for many students, providing fertile ground for tinkering with the craft of effective teaching. I am grateful to be surrounded by dedicated colleagues who assist in brainstorming, honing ideas and implementing new pedagogies.”
Dr. Bridges specializes in organic chemistry and chemical education. She has co-published her research in The Chemical Educator and Tetrahedron Letters.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a minor in mathematics from Mercer and Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
About the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Mercer University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences serves as the academic cornerstone of one of America’s oldest and most distinctive institutions of higher learning. The oldest and largest of Mercer’s 12 schools and colleges, it is a diverse and vibrant community, enrolling more than 1,900 students, dedicated to learning and service through the practice of intellectual curiosity, respectful dialogue and responsible citizenry. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers majors in more than 30 areas of study, including more than a dozen pre-professional academic tracks, with classes taught by an outstanding faculty of scholars. In 2015, Mercer was awarded a chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society that recognizes exceptional achievement in the arts and sciences. For more information, visit liberalarts.mercer.edu.