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Luis Montes, Ph.D.
Luis joined the UCO faculty in August 2000. He has held the rank of professor of chemistry since 2009 and has served as chair of the Department of Chemistry since July 2012. His scholarly interests are in the areas of chemical education, history of chemistry and philosophy of chemistry.
Education and Certifications
The University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D Chemistry 1996
New Mexico State University
B.A. Philosophy 1990
B.S. Chemistry 1990
UNIV 1012 Success Central
CHEM 1014 Introductory Chemistry
CHEM 1103 General Chemistry I
CHEM 1112 General Chemistry I Lab
CHEM 1223 General Chemistry II
CHEM 3621 Professionalism in Chemistry II
CHEM 4654 Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 4892 Capstone for Chemistry
CHEM 4910 Nature & Development of Chemistry
“ If anyone proposes a relation y = f(x) as a “law of nature” which “exactly” expresses the relation between x and y you need only ask: How do you know that the relation is not, rather, y = f(x) x [1+ g(x)], where g(x) is so close to zero as to be unnoticeable under all the conditions in which the relation has as yet been tested, but which becomes large under novel conditions.” Alan A. Gromestein, The Roots of Things, Chapter 10, p. 264 (1999).
When it comes to teaching, it is important to remember that there are no laws of nature for teaching. Not all of our students are going to respond to our teaching in exactly the same way. We assume that one of the advantages of small class sizes is the close interactions between instructor and learner. Ideally, this means the instructor can take the time to understand the learner and what is needed to help them get to where they need to be. As a teacher, I always find the process of discovering the [1+g(x)] about each student to be the most intriguing part of the job.
My philosophy of teaching is that every student comes to a course with a unique set of experiences, goals, and insights. If I am to succeed as a teacher, I must understand and honor the uniqueness of each student, so that I can help them achieve the common course and program learning goals. When putting this philosophy into practice, I have to establish a learning environment and set of routines that connect me with each student in the teaching-learning exchange. This environment helps me learn about each student, while at the same time giving each student a chance to explore the discipline in their own way. I have to be adept with a variety of teaching techniques so students will be able to learn the essential principles of my discipline. I must be aware of resources to help students understand the concepts being taught, as well as campus resources to help students smooth the uncertainties of their lives that may slow their academic progress. My philosophy calls for me to understand that for each of my students, and for each section and each course I teach, there is a unique set of conditions and experiences at play. I can use a particular teaching technique for a section, but there may be individual students who are not best reached by that technique. Small group activities may work well in one course, but a different course, with different learning goals, may require more individual work on the part of students. Despite the fact that I have taught some of the same courses for nearly two decades, my teaching cannot be mass produced and repeated every semester because I have different students every semester. I want to understand the unique experiences of each student, and for each group of students, and for each section. If I am to achieve this I need to listen, and respond, and observe, and share. If I want to reach each student, I must continually update my ability with a range of teaching techniques, so I can apply them as needed in the unique environments that define every class.
Honors and Awards
UCO CETTL 21st Century Pedagogy Institute Teacher-Scholar 2019
UCO Neely Excellence in Teaching Award 2018
UCO CETTL 21st Century Pedagogy Institute Most Distinguished Teacher-Scholar 2017
UCO College of Mathematics & Sciences Excellence in Teaching Merit Award 2013
UCO Vanderford President's Initiative Award 2012
UCO Provost's Modelling the Way Award 2007
Professional and Community Involvement
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Division of Chemical Education
Division of the History of Chemistry
Chair-Elect/Chair/Past-Chair OK Section of ACS (2014 - 2016)
Higher Learning Commission
Peer Reviewer (2013 - present)
Significant University Service
Strategic Enrollment Planning Council (2017 - present)
Hispanic Success Initiative Co-Organizer (2015 - present)
Faculty & Staff Campaign Co-Chair (2010 - present)
Faculty Handbook Editorial Board (2010 - 2012)
President Search Advisory Committee (2011)
Faculty Senate President (2006-2007 and 2010-2011)
Faculty Salary Schedule Revision Task Force (2005 - 2007)
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