The Founders

 Prof. Fahmy AFM
Faculty of Science, Ain Shams University,Cairo, Egypt

I am very sorry to announce the death of my close friend and colleague, Prof. Joe Lagowski [University of Texas at Austin]. He was died on April 29th 2014. He is the co-founder of SATLC & SAQ, s with me. We are jointly developed this approach internationally since the year 1998. One of our achievements is this website beside a lot of joint publications in this area. I think we lost him but we did not lose him as a co-founder of SATLC & SAQ, S in chemistry Education area. It is a great loss for me. But, however, I will go on the same line to continue what we started together. Finally, I was deeply shocked by this news. My heartfelt condolences to his family and to chemistry education community in large.


Message of condolences

Members of Chair of Chemistry Teaching Methodology,
Faculty of Sciences, University of Novi Sad, Serbia

We were deeply saddened by the news of Prof. Lagowski's passing. Even though words cannot express sorrow, they could express the value of everything what Prof. Lagowski had done for Chemistry Education, especially for Systemic Approach (SATLC). Together, Prof. Lagowski and Prof. Fahmy established this approach as new method of teaching and learning chemistry which fosters meaningful learning. SATLC has spread around the world due to the fact that high-quality foundation has been made. Such foundation could be based only by someone who is excellent educator and chemist, and who deeply understands what is necessary for teaching and learning process which follows the needs of rapidly developing science such as Chemistry. On the one hand remains eternal memory of Prof. Lagowski's achievements, however, on the other hand remains regret of what he could still do in this important area of Chemical Education.



Remembering Professor Lagowski

By Diana Mason, PhD, ACSF [USA]

I was already contemplating what chocolate (his favorite food!) could I give Professor Lagowski for his 84th birthday on June 6, when I received the word of his passing on April 29, 2014.  It was, I must admit, unexpected.  Our Dr. L, as his graduate students refer to him, was a man of many talents and a never-ending list of ideas of how to improve the teaching and learning of chemistry that needed to be investigated.  The world will be a little smaller without his wisdom and insights into both his worlds: non-aqueous solvents and organometallic pi-complexes (solution chemistry that focused primarily on anhydrous liquid ammonia)and chemical education.

In his bench research he is most noted for the discovery of the auride ion, Au-.  So rarely does a metal form an anion, but if one existed, Joe Lagowski was the one to think outside the box and persevere until the task was complete, or maybe I should say, "press on", one of his favorite expressions whether in the wet lab or classroom.  He always gave his graduate students just enough guidance that we could learn from our mistakes but then we were to simply "press on".  In the chemical education world his presence was great, though too short lived because he was still very active and still providing "opportunities" to further research in chemical education.  For over 20 years he was the editor of the Journal of Chemical Education (1979-1996) and also helped start the African Journal of Chemical Education.  These experiences brought him into a world linked by the love of the study of chemistry needed to advance not only knowledge of the science but also knowledge of how it is studied, taught, and learned.

Much closer to his adopted home at The University of Texas at Austin, Dr. J. J. Lagowski was instrumental in the formation of the Associated Chemistry Teachers of Texas in 1981.  This organization has grown to over 400 members across the state of Texas and is being touted as the model for the upcoming American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) due to begin in September. In the 1989, he approached me about returning to graduate school at The University of Texas at Austin where he had been since 1959.  I was considering his new program where I could combine my interests in teaching chemistry with the use of the computer in the classroom.  I had only possessed a personal computer for about three years but he enticed me by describing how student-driven learning for multitudes of people in every corner of the world could happen with a single guide at some distant point. The role of distant learning was one of his biggest passions and he was actively changing how chemistry was taught by employing these new teaching/learning tools in one of the first student computer labs on campus.  Self-directed chemistry courses that emphasized laboratory skills and techniques where students had to exhibit mastery will survive as one of his many legacies.

Professor Lagowski's contributions to teaching chemistry in the USA are impressive, but his global reach through IUPAC and with the help of many professors across the world, like Ameen F. M. Fahmy of Egypt, have awaken those who teach chemistry with a systematic approach to teaching and learning chemistry.  The Systemic Approach to Teaching and Learning Chemistry [SATLC] tied with systemic assessment [SA]to evaluate student learning outcomes highlights how student everywhere need to have mentors and instructors who understand how humans learn and how new knowledge can be retained.

Dr. Lagowski received his first PhD from Michigan State University in 1957 and his second PhD from Cambridge University in 1959 when he then joined the esteemed faculty at The University of Texas at Austin. By 1967, he had been promoted to Full Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  He officially retired in 2008, but as Professor Emeritus continued to seek ways to use online learning to bridge the gap between secondary and post-secondary education. n lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the J.J. Lagowski Undergraduate Scholarship in Chemistry at the University of Illinois, where Dr. Lagowski received his bachelorís degree in 1952. To contribute, checks made payable to the University of Illinois can be mailed to the Department of Chemistry c/o Kristin Lang, 109 Noyes Laboratory, 600 S. Mathews Box D-1, Urbana, IL 61801.

In his own words, "Chemical education is a discipline that springs naturally from the recognition of three important observations: that chemistry is the central science; that chemistry is, and always has been, useful to the evolving progress of civilization; and that our understanding of chemistry is not, and probably never will be, complete."

Press on, Dr. L, we love you and will miss you!

Noted awards:

50 Year Service Award, American Chemical Society, 2005

Outstanding Service Award from the Division of Chemical
Education of the American Chemical Society, 2003

Elected member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, 2001

Northeastern Section of The American Chemical Society James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in The Teaching of Chemistry, 1999
Southwest Regional ACS Award, 1996

ACS Award in Chemical Education, sponsored by Union Carbide Corporation, 1989

Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation Piper Professor for outstanding scholarly and academic achievement, 1983

Chemical National Manufacturing Association Award for Excellence in Chemistry Teaching, 1981

Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1981

Marshall Scholar, H.R.M.'s Brittanic Government, 1959