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Curricular Models for the Involvement of First and Second Year Students in Research Nancy Mills Department of Chemistry Trinity University San Antonio, Texas Trinity University Predominantly undergraduate, 2400 undergraduates 200 Graduate students Selective, average SAT~1300

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curricular models for the involvement of first and second year students in research
Curricular Models for the Involvement of First and Second Year Students in Research

Nancy Mills

Department of Chemistry

Trinity University

San Antonio, Texas

trinity university
Trinity University

Predominantly undergraduate, 2400 undergraduates

200 Graduate students

Selective, average SAT~1300

Chemistry department, 7 faculty (soon to be 8)

organic (3), inorganic, analytical,

physical, biochemistry (soon to be 2)

curriculum at trinity
Curriculum at Trinity

First year Fall, General Chemistry Spring, Organic I

Second year Fall, Organic II Spring, Inorganic

Third year Fall, Physical Chemistry I Spring, Analytical

Third year, diverge into tracks for BA/BS Chemistry

BS Biochemistry

BS Biochemistry/Molecular Biology

research courses
Research Courses

For credit: course for first and second years,

Research Techniques and Applications

course for experienced students and juniors/seniors,

Independent Research in Chemistry and Biochemistry,

Prerequisite, junior standing. Formal report required

Honors Thesis

Non-credit Volunteering in a research lab

hidden curricular features
Hidden Curricular Features

Third semester biology (Cellular and Molecular Biology) requires one year of chemistry.

Consequences: All premeds start taking chemistry their first year.

Because there is great overlap in the populations of students in the first three courses in chemistry and biology, there can be curricular interactions.

Advantages for biology: more chemistry in their early courses (BIO2010)

advantages for chemistry of the organization of our curriculum
Advantages for Chemistry of the Organization of our Curriculum

Students start taking chemistry their first semester and are therefore more likely to major in it.

They take organic earlier, arguably more pedagogically accessible than the general chemistry survey course.

With the skill set of organic techniques, they can go into research earlier; since the biology research program is smaller than ours, they come to us.

consequences
Consequences

The number of chemistry majors is larger than the norm.

Our upper division courses are healthier because they are larger.

There is a greater sense of vitality in the department.

And we can involve students in the research lab because they have had more exposure to sophisticated techniques.

why do research with young inexperienced students
Why do research with “young”, inexperienced students?

Get to work with students for a longer period of time.

Get more majors.

Create a more vibrant undergraduate chemistry community in the department.

Most important, give students the opportunity to explore a career path early in their academic career

key elements
Key Elements

Organic early.

Support from the biology curriculum.

Buy-in by the chemistry faculty.

only possible at a selective institution
Only Possible at a Selective Institution?

Trinity University Summer Undergraduate Research Experience

SURE

Funded by NSF-REU

Targeted at students in local two and four year colleges that didn’t offer a summer research program. Positions were guaranteed for at least one student at the four community colleges and three four-year institutions.

laboratory experience spectrum
Laboratory Experience Spectrum

Cookbook labs

Research

Routine technician work

Research

research experiences in the formal curriculum
Research Experiences in the “Formal” Curriculum

Elements of research

Asking a question

Obtaining data to answer the question

Creating new knowledge.

cookbook labs
Cookbook labs

“Single” experiment labs, with a question

“Multiple” experiment labs, with a question

Labs with student designed questions (with faculty input)

or

Teaching lab experiences that lead to publication in research journals

single experiment labs with a question
“Single” experiment labs, with a question

When? The first semester of organic lab (second semester freshmen)

What? Preparation of a propyl benzhydrol ether

Issues: Nafion is an acidic catalyst with pores

The most stable cation is the one from benzhydrol but does it form? Can it fit within the pores?

Does 1-propanol fit within the pores? Does it rearrange?

Not research, but possibly protoresearch.

multiple experiment labs with a question
“Multiple” experiment labs, with a question

Friedel-Crafts acylation on “unknown” aromatic compound

Pedagogical goals: NMR processing and analysis; vacuum distillation.

Aldol condensation with many different combinations of substituted benzaldehydes and symmetrical and unsymmetrical ketones

Pedagogical goals: recrystallization, NMR analysis and processing,

Chemical Abstracts searching for MP data

Grignard reaction to prepare suite of substituted benzoic acids

Pedagogical goals: capillary electrophoresis to examine relationships between substituents and acidity, moisture sensitive reaction

experiments from other colleges universities
Experiments from other colleges/universities

Preparing Students for Research: Synthesis of Substituted Chalcones as a Comprehensive Guided-Inquiry Experience, J. R. Vyvyan, D. L. Pavia, G. M. Lampman, G S. KrizJ Chem Ed, 2002 79, 1119

The Oxidation of Alkylbenzenes: Using Data Pooling in the Organic Laboratory to Illustrate Research in Organic Chemistry, James C. Adrian Jr. and Leslie A. Hull, J Chem Ed 2001 78, 529.

The Centerpiece of a Research-Oriented Curriculum, T. W. Hanks and Laura L. Wright, J. Chem. Ed.2002 79, 1127.

labs with student designed questions with faculty input
Labs with student designed questions (with faculty input)

Second semester organic lab: Enzymatic reduction of a b-keto ester

Can we “model” the active site by varying the size of the b-keto ester?

Options:

Taken from an article by Michael North, Journal of Chemical Education, 1998, 75, 630-1.

other research type experiments
Other research-type experiments

A Research-Based Sophomore Organic Chemistry Laboratory, D. Scott Davis, Robert J. Hargrove, and Jeffrey D. Hugdahl

J Chem Ed, 199976, 1127

Organic Chemistry Lab as a Research Experience, Thomas R. Ruttledge J Chem Ed1998 75, 1575

Honors Cup: Incorporating a synthetic project competition in second semester undergraduate organic chemistry. A.C. Gottfried, B. P. Coppola, Philadelphia ACS meeting, CHED 74

experiments based on faculty research
Experiments based on Faculty Research

A New Investigative Sophomore Organic Laboratory Involving Individual Research Projects, Gregory B. Kharas. J Chem Ed. 199774, 829

The Baker’s Yeast Reduction of Keto-Esters in Organic Solvents: A One Week Research Project for Undergraduate Students, Michael North, Journal of Chemical Education, 1998, 75, 630-1.

Baker’s Yeast Reduction of b-Keto Esters in Petrol, Michael North, Tetrahedron Lett1996, 1699

research experiences in high school chemistry labs
Research Experiences in High School Chemistry Labs

Classroom Research: GC Studies of Linoleic and Linolenic Fatty Acids Found in French Fries, Janice P. Crowley, Kristen L. DeBoise, Megan R. Marshall, Hannah M. Shaffer, Sara Zafar, Kevin A. Jones, Nick R. Palko, Stephen M. Mitsch, Lindsay A. Sutton, Margaret Chang, Ilana Fromer, Jake Kraft, Jessica Meister, Amar Shah, Priscilla Tan, and James Whitchurch J Chem Ed200279, 824

bottom line
Bottom line

It is possible to design experiments that answer a question in a way that mimics a research-type experiment in the first two years of the chemistry curriculum.

It is possible to involve students in undergraduate research in a meaningful way very early in their academic careers.