Michael Tessmer, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry
Email Address
(620) 229-6369

Michael Tessmer (Ph.D. University of Minnesota) is a Professor of Chemistry and has been at Southwestern since 1998. Dr. Tessmer teaches a variety of chemistry courses including General Chemistry 1 and 2, Drugs: Research and Reward, Analytical and Physical Chemistry.

Academic History 

  • B.S. in Chemistry from Minnesota State University at Mankato
  • Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Minnesota

Highlighted Achievements 

Dr. Tessmer’s research interests focus on community engagement and course development. He developed a summer engineering course for middle school students and a junior science explorers course for adolescents. On the collegiate level, he has developed and written numerous labs and activities to promote critical thinking and active learning in the classroom.

Research Interests

Chemical education, protein structure, and environmental science.

Philosophy of Teaching

One of the most difficult tasks for an instructor is keeping students interested in learning throughout an entire course. I believe the two main reasons why students lose interest are boredom with the material and disillusionment with the material or the instructor. To help facilitate better engagement and interest I try to stress the practical aspects of course material along with getting students involved in their own learning. This ranges from group work in class to lab projects where students come up with original ideas to pursue.


Dr. Tessmer does a lot of community engagement as an advocate for science education. 

“My favorite hobbies are biking, traveling, and playing pickle-ball. I have visited 37 different countries, either on solo adventures or with my spouse and daughters. My spouse is also a chemistry teacher as an adjunct for Cowley College and we have one daughter in high school and another in college.”

Michael Tessmer, Ph.D.
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Academic excellence sets SC apart.

41 main campus and 16 professional studies undergraduate majors, 27 minors, teacher certification in 13 areas, and 6 graduate programs.