Jean-Marc Gauthier

Photo of Jean-Marc Gauthier

Jean-Marc Gauthier

Faculty of Science
2000 - Present '

In 2012, a renovated, state-of-the-art Undergraduate Integrated Chemistry Lab opened in the Otto Maass building. Jean-Marc Gauthier was a major contributor to the project, charged with improving the chemistry laboratory experience, and redesigning the approach to lab experiments to offer students enhanced learning experiences. Rather than following recipe-style instructions when conducting traditional lab experiments, students now engage with challenging questions, designing their own experiments to better understand the world around them. For instance, when given regular cooking oil, how can students create biodiesel? Students test their hypotheses, learning through experience about the variables that may impact their results, and about the scientific method more broadly. Since the redesign, thousands of students have benefitted from this approach

The Chemistry lab is a McGill gem. Teaching and Learning Services frequently takes visitors — local, national and international — on tours of renovated learning spaces around the university. When we arrive at the lab, Jean-Marc enthusiastically offers his own guided tour. Wearing protective glasses, visitors follow him around as he points out and sometimes even demonstrates innovative lab features. He compellingly conveys the value of students having a chance to experience inquiry-based approaches to chemistry. Visitors frequently note how impressed they are with Jean-Marc’s depth of knowledge, thoughtful examples, and generosity with his time.

Jean-Marc’s devotion to supporting his students’ learning is laudable, as is his willingness to share his expertise. The attention he gives visitors to the lab raises McGill’s profile beyond the Roddick Gates. For his enthusiasm, expertise and effort, we nominate Jean-Marc as our “Unsung Hero”.

Nominated by a staff member at Teaching and Learning Services