We at ACERT were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Manashi Chatterjee early this year. Manashi, a Doctoral Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry, was an integral part of the ACERT community, and contributed so much to the lives of her students and colleagues at Hunter. Manashi served as an ACERT Faculty Fellow and as an Assessment Fellow, and participated in many ACERT events. Her innovative work in chemistry education and assessment was recognized and supported by the PSC-CUNY Award Program and several Faculty Innovation in Teaching with Technology (FITT) grants at Hunter. Manashi frequently shared her findings with the Hunter community and at the National Meetings of the American Chemical Society.
Active learning was at the core of Manashi’s teaching. “Meaningful learning occurs when students are encouraged to participate and work on problems rather than waiting to copy instructors’ answers,” Manashi wrote. She empowered her students in their learning through peer instruction and group work, and effective use of technology and apps. In her large organic chemistry classes students worked together on solving problems on iPads. Long before we all used Zoom polls, Manashi engaged her auditorium-sized classes with i-clickers. These strategies helped Manashi and her teaching assistants to find out what students knew and did not know, what possible misconceptions of the material they may have, and to make adjustments on how class time was spent.
We admired Manashi for making her large classes engaging and personal, and appreciated her willingness to share her expertise and insights about active learning, peer instruction, and assessment with her colleagues across Hunter. We all enjoyed working with and learning from Manashi. We miss Manashi’s warmth and energy, and the chance to sit one more time next to her at an ACERT event to catch up and chat. We lost a generous and inspiring colleague, teacher, and person.
To pay tribute to Manashi, this Spring we are dedicating two lunchtime seminars to topics she deeply cared about: the flipped classroom and active learning, and assessment and exploring student learning. We further remember Manashi through pictures, videos, and memories written by past and present colleagues, collected in this tribute book. We miss Manashi dearly.