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Challenges in Preparing Professional Chemists: Imparting and Assessing Student Skills Joel Shulman University of Cincinnati ACS Committee on Professional.

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Presentation on theme: "Challenges in Preparing Professional Chemists: Imparting and Assessing Student Skills Joel Shulman University of Cincinnati ACS Committee on Professional."— Presentation transcript:

1 Challenges in Preparing Professional Chemists: Imparting and Assessing Student Skills Joel Shulman University of Cincinnati ACS Committee on Professional Training BCCE Symposium on The Evolution of the ACS Approval Process: Moving beyond the 2008 Guidelines July 31, 2012

2 What Do We Mean By “Student Skills?” Can be termed:  Process skills  Soft skills  Employability skills  Nontechnical professional competencies Characteristics:  Generic and transferable  Marketable and lifelong  Wide applications that go beyond course content alone

3 Examples of Student Skills and Abilities  Problem solving/Critical thinking  Laboratory safety  Chemical-literature skills  Communication, both oral and written  Team skills  Professional ethics and social responsibility

4 What Do The ACS Guidelines Say?  “Students should go beyond course content alone to be effective and productive scientists. They need to master a variety of skills that will allow them to become successful professionals.”  “Both dedicated courses and integration of learning opportunities throughout the curriculum can be used to develop student skills and provide a means for assessing them.”

5 Problem Solving/Critical Thinking  “The ultimate goal of chemistry education is to provide students with the tools to solve problems.” –Problem solving skill is what students will need to develop further in graduate school and the reason they are hired by industry. –But even if they have the tools, students don’t necessarily know how and when to use them. –Need to integrate knowledge across chemistry and apply this knowledge appropriately to solve a problem.

6 What Do Students Need To Demonstrate? PROBLEM SOLVING/CRITICAL THINKING  Define and analyze problems clearly  Develop a testable hypothesis  Design and execute experiments  Sort through data and draw appropriate conclusions  Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate literature articles  Understand the fundamental uncertainties in experimental measurements

7 Laboratory Safety Skills: A Lifelong Impact HAZARDS occur daily! Laboratory Safety Teaches Students about: - Minimizing hazard risks and what to do when they occur - How to Use prudent practices and protective equipment Ultimately, Lab Safety Skills teach students to:  Create a safer/healthier environment for all  Live safer, healthier, longer lives

8 What Do Students Need To Demonstrate? LABORATORY SAFETY  “Students [should] understand the concepts of safe laboratory practices and how to apply them.”  Begin safety awareness in the first lab course  Understand responsible disposal techniques  Comply with safety regulations  Understand and use MSDS  Recognize and minimize potential chemical and physical hazards in the laboratory

9 Laboratory Safety Demonstrate Understanding of:  Safety rules (food/drink)  Dress regulations (shoes/clothing/goggles)  Physical safety  Safety/Emergency equipment and their use  What to do in case of accident/Injury/Illness  Handling, storage, and disposal of chemical waste  When to work in fume hoods  Awareness of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements  Access and ability to use Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)  Proper techniques for each experiment

10 Library & Information Literacy “Set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed, and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” American Library Association (ALA)

11 What do students need to demonstrate? CHEMICAL-LITERATURE SKILLS  “Students should learn how to retrieve specific chemical information from the chemical literature.”  Determine and access needed information  Retrieve specific information  Journal articles, reviews, handbooks, etc.  Variety of online data bases, such as Chemical Abstracts  Use both library and electronic sources  Evaluate technical articles critically

12 Written and Oral Communication  “Effective communication is vital to a scientist.”  Industry has identified “outages” in new-hire bachelor-degree chemists, especially  Communication skills  Team skills

13 What Do Students Need To Demonstrate? COMMUNICATION  Present information in a clear and organized manner  Use appropriate technology (e.g., poster preparation, PowerPoint, word processing, chemical drawing programs)  Write well-organized and concise reports in a scientifically appropriate style  Respond effectively to questions in an oral presentation

14 Team Building  “The ability to work in multidisciplinary teams is essential for a well-educated scientist.”  Enhances student learning  Is social, less competitive—not a solo race  Allows for sharing of ideas; increases listening, learning, and communication skills  Develops cooperation and reciprocity  Uses active/interactive learning techniques  Stimulates interpersonal collaboration  Develops people skills  Industry uses the team approach to solve problems.

15 What Do Students Need To Demonstrate? TEAM SKILLS  Work effectively in a group to solve scientific problems  Able to lead portions of an activity and be effective followers  Interact productively with a diverse group of peers

16 ETHICS: Professional Conduct of Research  Chemistry, like any discipline, has a social structure with a code of practices that govern acceptable/unacceptable behaviors.  Progress in chemistry, as in all sciences, relies on complete honesty, openness, trustworthiness, and reproducibility of experimental results.  ACS has recognized the importance of ethics in chemistry by  Adopting an ACS Code of Conduct.  Constituting a Council Committee on Ethics.

17 What Do Students Need To Demonstrate? PROFESSIONAL ETHICS & SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY “Ethics should be an intentional part of the instruction in a chemistry program.”  Display high personal standards and integrity  Demonstrate an awareness of contemporary issues related to chemistry  Recognize applications of chemistry in industrial, governmental, and/or societal settings

18 How Can Chemistry Programs Impart and Assess These Skills and Abilities?  Incorporate into existing courses throughout the curriculum  Design a culture of safety into all lab courses  Consciously design team projects into courses  Require some use of the literature in early chemistry courses  Design exams that go beyond knowledge to demonstrate integration and utilization of information  Emphasize the absolute importance of ethics  All instructional staff must be role models and exemplify responsible conduct in their teaching, research, and all other professional activities.

19 How Can Chemistry Programs Impart and Assess These Skills and Abilities?  Develop separate “mini” courses  Safety  Writing and/or use of the literature  Ethics  Capstone seminars  Use advanced courses to assess skills  A senior lab course  Poster session based on project, with literature component

20 How Can Chemistry Programs Impart and Assess These Skills and Abilities?  Undergraduate research: a unique opportunity to develop and assess student skills  Written and oral reports  Poster presentation  Critical use of the literature  Team skills

21 Possible Content of a One-Credit Capstone Seminar Course*  Advanced literature searching  Scientific ethics, with case studies  Writing a scientific paper  Effective oral scientific presentations  Effective poster presentations  Societal impacts of chemistry  Graduate school considerations  Job searching  Resume preparation  Interviewing skills *Such Courses Are Not Usually Considered as In-Depth by CPT

22 CPT Expectations  Departments are expected to  Define important student process skills.  Describe activities that will develop these skills.  Evaluate whether (and how well) these skills are being developed.  CPT does not look at individual student outcomes, but rather at how a department imparts and accesses process skills.  See Student Skills Supplements at [Education  CPT  ACS Guidelines/Supplements]

23 A Word About Mentoring  “Effective advising and mentoring of under- graduates are central to student achievement.”  Successful mentors provide guidance for a student’s  Ethical behavior  Development of independence  Networking  Ability to apply what she has learned  Career planning  Career preparation

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