Judith Poë

Judy Poe
Place of Birth: 
Chicago, IL
First Year Employed at UTM/U of T: 
Department / Division: 
Chemical and Physical Sciences

Throughout my time at UTM, I have tried to respect and support the ambitions and integrity of my students and colleagues as individuals while simultaneously acting in the best interests of the university.

Judith Poë

After earning her ARCS in chemistry and her MSc and DIC in biochemistry at Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London, Professor Judith Poë joined the faculty at Erindale College (now UTM) in 1970 and made it her home. 

“UTM, its students, faculty and staff, have provided me with a nurturing environment in which to grow both personally and intellectually. It is my community and, in many ways, my family,” she says. Now in her 47th year at UTM, Poë feels gratitude for former principals E.A. Robinson and Desmond Morton and interim principal Ulrich Krull, “whose strengths I admire and have tried to emulate.”

Trained as a bioinorganic chemist with interests in the mechanisms of catalysis by copper and iron containing metalloenzymes, Professor Poë’s current research and scholarly activity is in the area of chemical education focusing on web-enhanced teaching and learning, writing as a tool for learning and problem-based Learning. Often, she is ahead of new trends: in the 1990s, she introduced virtual office hours to her students using a web-based system that allowed the entire class to benefit from questions asked by their peers. She is currently designing a new undergraduate program in medicinal chemistry.

In the classroom, Poë is known as the backbone of first-year chemistry, although she has also taught many other courses across the undergraduate chemistry curriculum. She loves the challenges of addressing new topics and working with students who are eager for knowledge. “It’s wonderful sharing a subject I love with students who continually ask new and stimulating questions,” Poe says. In 1995, she was cited in The Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities as one of the U of T’s “popular profs.”

Outside of the classroom, Poë has long been involved in university administration and governance, serving as interim department chair (2008-2009), chairing the Erindale College Council (1986-1992 and 1998-2003) and serving on the U of T Academic Board (2007-2013). In 1999 she co-authored a new U of T policy that provided a clear career path for teaching stream faculty. She currently sits on the UTM Campus Council and chairs its Academic Affairs Committee.

Beyond the university, Poë has served as president of the Canadian Society for Chemistry (1999-2000), was elected a fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada (2001) and currently chairs the Canadian Chemical Education Trust.


Selected Awards:

University of Toronto Awards of Excellence-Vivek Goel Faculty Citizenship Award, 2016, awarded in recognition of contributions to the university through governance bodies and the Faculty Association as well as contributions to the chemical profession.

University of Toronto, President’s Teaching Award, 2007, the university’s premier teaching award.

Chemical Institute of Canada, Union Carbide Award for Chemical Education, 2001, the premier chemistry teaching award in Canada.

3M Teaching Fellowship, 1993, the premier teaching award in Canada.


Selected Publications:

Poë, J., “Active Learning Pedagogies for the Future of Global Chemistry Education,” pp 279- 300 in Chemistry Education: Best Practices, Opportunities and Trends, ed. J. Garcia-Martinez and E. Serrano-Torregrosa, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2015.

Poë was invited to contribute this book chapter, summarizing much of her recent scholarly work.

Poë, J., “Chemical Education - Interdisciplinary Research in Need of Support,” Canadian Chemical News, Vol. 52, No. 2, p.4, 2000.

This was written during the year that Poë served as the first woman president of the Canadian     Society for Chemistry and the first person whose specialty was chemistry education.  Its aim was       to improve funding to support research in science education.

Deckers, J. and Poë, J. “Aims of Laboratory Simulation Programmes,” p. 28, Proceedings of the Conference on Computers in Chemical Education, Kingston, Ontario, 1974.

This represents pioneering work in computer-assisted learning in chemistry.