Date(s) - 20/01/2010
3:20 pm - 4:20 pm
Title: Undergraduate Laboratory Renaissance
Speaker: Dr. Richard Gurney – Simmons College
Location: ABB 102
We have recently concluded a large-scale pilot program to explore the benefits and challenges of extending research participation to all sophomore chemistry students by building a course-based laboratory program around faculty research, instead of the usual closed-end laboratory experiments. The success of this pilot has led us to plan a three-year phase-in of research-based laboratories in nearly all chemistry courses plus several biology and physics courses.
The benefits of involving undergraduates in scientific research are well documented. These benefits include building skills and confidence, encouraging critical thinking, and recruiting talented students for careers in science. Often, such research participation is limited to honors students or to students who are forward enough to seek out a faculty member and request such access. Simmons College has a long-standing requirement that all seniors do a year-long â??Independent Studyâ? project which, in the sciences, has meant laboratory research with a faculty member or in a neighboring institutional laboratory. This research immersion is a formative experience for many of our students and serves them well as they move on to employment or advanced study. The â??Laboratory Renaissanceâ? project seeks to extend these benefits to a much larger number of students at an earlier point in their college careers.
This seminar will present in detail:
â?¢ the issues involved in redesigning a course laboratory around a research project
â?¢ the methodology for organizing a research-based laboratory curriculum
â?¢ the logistics of conducting research with multiple teams of undergraduates
â?¢ the assessment results from two yearâ??s experience with the pilot
â?¢ the difficulties encountered and the benefits accrued from this curricular redesign.
â?¢ the assessment results from the first year of the of program.