General chemistry lecturer Erik Ruggles is the recipient of a UVM Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award.

Ruggles, who teaches undergraduate general chemistry, was nominated for the award by a group of students. The Kroepsch-Maurice Awards are administered under the authority of the Office of the Provost in support of academic excellence in teaching and learning.  Each year, a selection of faculty members receive this honor in one of four categories (lecturer/senior lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor, and professor).

Ruggles says student involvement and feedback are the cornerstones of his teaching philosophy—something he learned from his father, also an educator.

“He always told me that you need to involve participation and accept feedback from students in order to make your classes ring truer to the overall goal of educating,” he says. “Students learn in very different manners and respond differently to different modes of teaching. The application of that philosophy allows for the student to receive their education in a manner that is enjoyable, hopefully inspirational, that lends itself to someone who is now more passionate about their education and field of interest.”

The Kroepsch-Maurice Awards memorialize Robert H. and Ruth M. Kroepsch and her parents, Walter C. and Mary L. Maurice. Robert H. Kroepsch served as Registrar and Dean of Administration at UVM from 1946-56. Ruth graduated from UVM in 1938 and her father, Walter Maurice, graduated from UVM in 1909. 

Areas considered for award selection include:

  • Excellence in instruction, including creation of an environment conducive to/encouragement of learning
  • Capacity to animate students and engage them in the pursuit of knowledge, understanding, and application
  • Innovation in teaching methods and/or curriculum development
  • Demonstrated commitment to cultural diversity, inclusive excellence and to advancing diversity and inclusion at UVM
  • Ability to motivate, challenge, and inspire students
  • Adherence to Our Common Ground for lifelong learning: respect, integrity, innovation, openness, justice, and responsibility

Ruggles, who started teaching at UVM in 2009, says that by involving his students through class problem sessions, demonstrations, and laboratory experimentation, students will understand chemistry’s charisma. 

“I enjoy the interaction between myself and students,” he says. “I really enjoy seeing the ‘light go on’ with students when they get a better real-world understanding of a particular topic or difficult concept.”



Erica Houskeeper