UC Faculty Awards 2021: Anne Vonderheide

Professor in A&S, CEAS honored with Mrs. A.B. "Dolly" Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching

Anne Vonderheide headshot

Anne Vonderheide | Photo/UC Creative + Brand.

Associate Professor-Educator Anne Vonderheide, Ph.D., loves sharing her passion for chemistry in the classroom at the University of Cincinnati — but her top priority is making sure each of her students feels supported in their quest to succeed.

As a professor and director of undergraduate studies for chemistry, Vonderheide teaches 600 nursing and allied health students each year in her foundational chemistry courses and mentors 400 chemistry majors and 200 minors. She’s also served as advisor for undergraduate and graduate student researchers. 

“My teaching philosophy remains the same whether my role is advisor, teacher or mentor, and that is ‘encourage, listen, encourage,’” Vonderheide said. “My greatest goal is to see each and every one these students succeed.” 

Vonderheide worked as a chemist for the Environmental Protection Agency while teaching classes at UC as an adjunct before joining the faculty full-time in 2012. She revels in connecting chemistry to everyday life through tangible examples, such as the effects of trans fat in the body and why oil and water don’t mix. 

Anne Vonderheide teaching in classroom

Anne Vonderheide taught many of her remote classes from the classroom to provide her students some normalcy during the pandemic. Photo/provided.

At every opportunity, Vonderheide seeks feedback from her students, specifically asking, ‘”How can I better support your learning?” She’s mindful that her classes comprise a diverse group of individuals and she continually seeks to innovate her teaching to better reach her students.

“Part of teaching and guiding first-year students is facing a group to whom the whole system is new, so I strive to make sure they know they are always welcome to reach out to me. Creating an inclusive culture where students feel a sense of belonging and can readily share their views and collaborate with others helps support their learning journey,” she said. 

These efforts are evident in her evaluations from her students — averaging 4.6-4.9 on a five-point scale — and by the nomination letters for this award.

“Dr. Vonderheide is a joy to work with: funny, optimistic, caring, dedicated and truly invested in the success of her students. She aims to meet students where they are and help them to be successful independently with the appropriate support from faculty,” said Lily Marrero, a former student and peer instructor in Vonderheide’s biochemistry course for nursing students.

Vonderheide has friends who think she works too much – but her retort is that it doesn’t feel like work when she enjoys it so much that she’d choose her job over curling up on her couch with a book.

“We have this amazing student population at UC,” Vonderheide said. “I just hope to influence their lives in a small positive way.”

Featured image at top/Jay Yocis/UC Creative + Brand

2021 Faculty Awards

The University of Cincinnati will honor 13 awardees in a virtual ceremony at 3 p.m., Thursday, April 22. Join via WebEx.