Dr. Joanne Stewart

Elmer E. Hartgerink Professor of Chemistry
Profile photo of Dr. Joanne Stewart

Dr. Joanne Stewart is a national leader in inorganic chemistry teaching and learning, communities of practice in chemistry, and professional development for faculty. During her more than 30 years at Hope College she has taught courses in general, inorganic and organometallic chemistry and developed general education courses on abrupt climate change and on the history of our concept of time. She has led faculty development programs for Hope’s Natural and Applied Sciences Division.

The focus of her Hope research group is on teaching and learning in inorganic chemistry. She and her students interview college chemistry instructors across the country to understand how faculty learn to become effective teachers. This research enables the design of effective faculty professional development programs. Her group also studies how students learn chemistry. This involves both the examination of student conceptual understanding (are they “getting it”?) and consideration of affective influences (motivation, self-efficacy) on learning. Over her more than three decades of research to date she has mentored more than 70 student researchers and received more than $3.8 million in grant funding from agencies including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Mellon Foundation.

Since 2007 she has served on the leadership council of the Interactive Online Network of Inorganic Chemists (IONiC), an NSF-supported collaborative effort to improve chemistry education by bringing current research into the classroom, facilitating collaboration by faculty at widely scattered institutions, assessing the effectiveness of various approaches to student learning, and employing those findings to create new, better learning materials. Because of the tremendous success of the IONiC community, Joanne now consults with new, emerging communities in science as they shape their missions and grow their membership.

Joanne chaired the Department of Chemistry from 1999 to 2001 and served from 2010 to 2014 as a faculty member on the Hope College Board of Trustees. From 2008 to 2012, she directed Hope’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute program, which supported research and teaching in science, mathematics, psychology and education at Hope. The program led to the development of several interdisciplinary research programs at Hope and the peer-advising FACES program in the sciences. She co-founded the West Michigan chapter of the Association for Women in Science and served as its secretary from 2016 to 2019. As a member of external review teams, she has helped evaluate the chemistry departments at over a dozen nationally-ranked liberal arts colleges.

As a graduate student at the University of California Berkeley, Joanne conducted her thesis research with Professor Richard A. Andersen on the synthesis and characterization of uranium amide and alkoxide compounds. As an undergraduate at Kalamazoo College, she conducted undergraduate research on transition metal metallocyclic compounds with Professor Thomas J. Smith and on metal-metal multiply bonded compounds with Professor Malcolm H. Chisholm. She fulfilled some of her B.A. requirements at the Friedrich-Alexander University in Germany. During year-long leaves from her work at Hope she has served as a visiting scholar at Harvard University, the University of San Diego and the University of Queensland, Australia.

She joined the Hope College Department of Chemistry in 1988.

Learn more about Dr. Stewart's current research 


  • Chemistry research
  • Science teaching


  • Ph.D., inorganic chemistry, University of California Berkeley, 1988 
  • B.A., chemistry, Kalamazoo College, 1982


  • Janet Andersen Lecture Award, Midstates Consortium for Math and Science, 2018
  • Appointed to endowed chair as Elmer E. Hartgerink Professor of Chemistry, Hope College, 2017–present
  • “Improving Inorganic Chemistry Education Through a Community-Developed Student-Centered Curriculum,” National Science Foundation-IUSE grant, $1,110,260, 2017–2022
  • Schaap Fellow in Chemistry Education, Hope College, 2016–present
  • Ruth and John Reed Faculty Achievement Award, Hope College, 2010
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant: “Reaching beyond the Borders of Hope: Advancing Biomedical
  • Research and Science Education at Hope College,” Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant, $1.4 million, 2008–2012
  • Learning Fellow, Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2005–2006
  • Janet L. Anderson Excellence in Teaching Award, Hope College, 1996

Selected Publications

  • “The Postsecondary Inorganic Chemistry Instructional Laboratory Curriculum: Results from a National Survey” (with J. R. Raker et al.), Journal of Chemical Education, 2022
  • “The Literature Discussion: A Signature Pedagogy for Inorganic Chemistry” (with B. A. Reisner), chapter in ACS Symposium Series Vol 1370: Advances in Teaching Inorganic Chemistry, Volume 1: Classroom Innovations and Faculty Development (ed. by R. M. Jones), 2020
  • “Teaching from the Primary Inorganic Literature: Lessons from Richard Andersen” (with A. K. Bentley, et al.), Dalton Transactions, 2018
  • “Great Expectations: Using an Analysis of Current Practices to Propose a Framework for the Undergraduate Inorganic Curriculum” (with B. A. Reisner et al.), Inorganic Chemistry, 2015
  • Connected Science: Strategies for Integrative Learning in College (with co-editors T. A. Ferrett, D. R. Geelan and W. M. Schlegel), Indiana University Press, 2013
  • “IONiC: A Cyber-Enabled Community of Practice for Improving Inorganic Chemical Education” (with E. Benatan et al.), Journal of Chemical Education, 2009

Selected Recent Workshop Presentations

  • Facilitating Group Work Online,” webinar for the IONiC community, 2020
  • “Global Liberal Arts Allies in STEM (GLAAS): Faculty Development Workshop for Science Faculty in the Global Liberal Arts Alliance” (with H. Eppley, L. Watson and A. Misseyani), College of Deree (Athens, Greece), 2017
  • “Organometallica at the Frontiers of Inorganic Chemistry” NSF workshop (with A. Johnson et al.), University of Michigan, 2016
  • “Hetero-genius Catalysis at the Frontiers of Inorganic Chemistry” NSF workshop (with A. Johnson et al.), University of Washington, 2015
  • “Solid State Materials for Alternative Energy Needs” NSF workshop (with B. A. Reisner et al.), Pennsylvania State University, 2013

View all of Dr. Stewart’s publications and presentations

Outside the College

Joanne started her adventures in chemical education as part of the National Science Foundation-sponsored ChemLinks consortium in the mid ’90s. She continues to thrive at making “links” among scientists in the scientific universe. In fact, her nickname in the IONiC community (and her Twitter handle) is “oracleofjo” because she’s known for being a good listener, giving wise advice and knowing everyone in the chemistry world. Joanne doesn’t believe in work-life balance, instead hoping to someday achieve something more like work-life transcendence. She does believe in spending time with her family, working for safety and rights in her community, and fitness training at the gym.

Profile photo of Dr. Joanne Stewart
Dr. Joanne Stewart

Phone Number616.395.7634

A. Paul Schaap Science Center 2057 35 East 12th Street Holland, MI 49423-3605
A map showing the location for Dr. Joanne Stewart A. Paul Schaap Science Center 2057 35 East 12th Street Holland MI 49423-3605