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Johll wins teacher excellence award

Dr. Matthew Johll
Dr. Matthew Johll

OGLESBY — Longtime Illinois Valley Community College chemistry instructor and textbook author Dr. Matthew Johll of Granville recently won Illinois Valley Community College’s 2020 Stephen Charry Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence.

Known affectionately to students as “Doc Johll,” he has been the college’s Chem Club advisor all 16 of his years at the college. Under his leadership, the club has consistently earned “Outstanding” designations from the American Chemical Society.

By introducing case studies, Johll’s textbooks have changed the way introductory chemistry courses are taught. He also successfully blends the science from crime scenes into his curriculum.

A frequent presenter at national conferences, Johll is renowned for his ability to help students understand the relevancy of chemistry in their lives. His presentations have included:

• Turning to Crime: Using case studies to teach chemistry;

• Real Crimes, Real Chemistry: True cases that feature the analysis of physical evidence by forensic chemists; and

• The good, the bad and the ugly: Using the chemistry found in movies, television programs, newspaper stories and the internet for class discussions.

Outside IVCC, Johll is a forensic chemistry consultant currently working with the LaSalle County coroner to identify a victim in a 1991 cold case. He is also working with a criminal case review commission in Birmingham, England, on an appeal for what Johll believes is a woman unjustly convicted by poor scientific analysis of evidence.

He was part of a BBC documentary on a similar case in Glasgow, Scotland, where a nurse was wrongly convicted of murdering five patients.

Johll earned the Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Iowa State University and the bachelor’s in chemistry (magna cum laude) from the University of Wisconsin at Platteville.

In 2011, UW Platteville named him Outstanding Educator/Researcher for the Engineering, Mathematics and Science Alumni Chapter. In 2017, he won the National Outstanding Eagle Scout Award, Boy Scouts of America, for excellence in professional achievements.

As the Charry award winner, Johll is IVCC’s nominee for the Illinois Community College Trustees Association’s 2020 Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member Award. The winner will be announced June 5 in Chicago. Johll was nominated for the Charry by student Brenden Gibson of Ottawa.

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