Faculty & Staff Directory

Janet Berthel

Janet Berthel
Ph.D., Dartmouth College
B.S., Allegheny College
Upper School

Dr. Janet Berthel began her work as an educator in graduate school, earning the John H. Wolfenden Prize for Excellence in Teaching at Dartmouth College. She proceeded to receive one of ten nationally awarded Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teaching-Research Fellowships, which helped launch her twenty-five plus year career in higher education.

Prior to joining the Morristown-Beard Community, Dr. Berthel held professorships at several liberal arts institutions, including Mount Holyoke College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and most recently, the College of Saint Elizabeth. While at the College of Saint Elizabeth, she served as the Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the Chair of the Academic Life Committee, and the invited Faculty Representative for the Task Force on General Education Reform, amongst numerous other duties.

Dr. Berthel’s research interests lie in the areas of synthetic organic methodology and chemical ecology. She has mentored dozens of student researchers and has received support for her work from the National Science Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, and the Howard Hughes Medical Foundation, to name a few. Her efforts on both experimental and educational fronts have been presented at regional meetings of the American Chemical Society and published in the Journal of Organic Chemistry and the Journal of Chemical Education.

Following her passion for teaching, Dr. Berthel accepted an appointment in the Science Department at Morristown-Beard School in 2014. She was drawn to MBS by the academic freedom that it affords its faculty. Dr. Berthel espouses the philosophy of renowned educator John Dewey, believing that beyond knowledge in a subject area, the primary concern of a teacher is what her pupils do with that knowledge. Accordingly, at Morristown-Beard, she seeks to develop courses that meet the needs and interests of the students before her.

For students contemplating careers in the health professions, for example, she created the “Advanced Seminar: Medicine, Analysis and Decision” course, a case study approach akin to that practiced in medical colleges in which students explore both scientific details and public policy considerations. Following the lead of her enthusiastic AP Chemistry students, she mentored a course affectionately dubbed “Lab, Lab and More Lab” but more formally entitled “Experimental Organic Chemistry.” As the name suggests, this course focused entirely on experimental design and execution, thereby affording students ample opportunity to truly practice science.

Building further on student interest for advanced electives in chemistry, Dr. Berthel recently launched “Advanced Studies: Organic Chemistry” – a college-level examination of a field notorious for its intellectual challenges. She is grateful to be in an environment supportive of academic innovation and populated by students willing to take intellectual risks.