University of Illinois
2026 Chemistry Annex
601 S. Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL, 61801
Elise McCarren is the Director of the Chemistry Merit Workshop Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She earned both her B.S. and M.S. in the Teaching of Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011 and 2013, respectively. She is also an instructor for Chemistry 101, Introductory Chemistry. Prior to joining the chemistry faculty, Elise taught high school chemistry and physics for five years in southern Illinois and at University High School in Normal, Illinois. Elise is a National Board Certified Teacher for Early Adolescent and Young Adult Science (chemistry) and has been named on the “List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students” multiple times.
I recognize that the vast majority of students who take my class aren’t chemistry majors, but instead, for them, chemistry is supporting coursework fulfilling a requirement towards their future career goals. I also know that many students in Chemistry 101 have had minimal or negative experiences with chemistry in the past and may be nervous or intimidated by the course as a result. With that in mind, I try to make sure that I create a welcoming environment and teach in a way that allows all students to succeed, and I also strive to provide a positive experience so that everyone appreciates the subject more at the end of the course than they did at the beginning. I do recognize that success looks different for different people, and that the students I work with enter the course at a variety of ability levels. With that in mind, I make sure that aspects of the class are challenging enough to engage the most motivated and talented students, and I also provide supports for all students to improve their understanding, regardless of background or prior knowledge.
Awards and Honors
List of Teachers Ranked Excellent by Their Students: Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020