Don DeCoste has been honored with two campus teaching awards this year. First, he received a LAS Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching by Instructional Staff Award and month later a Provost's Excellence in Undergradute Teaching Award.
Exerpt from an email sent by Department Head, Gregory Girolami
Dr. DeCoste has been a valuable member of the teaching staff in the Department of Chemistry since 1993, and during that time he has taught every freshman chemistry course we offer. Remarkably, he has been named to the List of Instructors Ranked as Excellent over 50 times and has received the School of Chemical Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award four times.
A few years ago, Dr. DeCoste took a lead role in reorganizing Chem 101 (Introductory Chemistry), to place greater emphasis on conceptual understanding and how to think about the math involved. More recently , he overhauled our mainstream freshmen general chemistry labs (Chem 103 and Chem 105), writing and producing 45 online streaming lab lecture videos for the courses. He doubled the number of experiments, thus increasing lab time and experiences. This was done without increasing instructional costs, in part by introducing a new feature: online lab data entry and analyses which is done in real time in the lab. Dr. DeCoste (with Doug Mills) directed the creation of an automated computer program that saves Teaching Assistants an immense amount of grading time.
Dr. DeCoste enjoys an international reputation owing to his co-authorship (with emeritus chemistry professor Steven Zumdahl) of three very popular chemistry textbooks at both the high school and college level. Dr. DeCoste also volunteers his time and expertise to put on a Holiday Magic Demonstration Show, serving the University of Illinois and the nearby community with a 75-minute chemical demonstration show at the end of each fall semester. What started as one show 10 years ago has now grown to three shows each semester as demand has been so great. He has also been a leader in the REACT program, one of the largest outreach programs at Illinois, serving 3rd grade science classes within a 50 mile radius of the UI campus.