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Reflecting on Your Teaching. Introduction to Chemical Engineering (and Nanotechnology) at USC. C. Ted Lee, Jr. Assistant Professor Department of Chemical Engineering and Material Science February 21, 2007. Outline. Industries ChE grads serve Macroscopic vs. Molecular approach

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Reflecting on Your Teaching

Introduction to Chemical Engineering

(and Nanotechnology) at USC

C. Ted Lee, Jr.

Assistant Professor

Department of Chemical Engineering and Material Science

February 21, 2007

  • Industries ChE grads serve
  • Macroscopic vs. Molecular approach
  • Courses students take
  • Specializing in a particular area (emphasis)
  • Nanotechnology
  • “Degree Projects”

“Chemical Engineering education is at a crossroads. There is a disconnect between the curriculum (which is largely focused on unit operations, e.g., heat exchangers, distillation columns, etc., and heavily geared towards commodity chemicals) and faculty research (which has recently emphasized nano- and bio-technology). Furthermore, there is a disparity between the courses students take and the diversity of industries they will serve (only about 25% of graduates go to work in the chemical industry, while the biotech, food, fuels, and electronics industries continue to aggressively hire ChE graduates).”

From: NSF-DUE-0633372 “A Degree Project Approach to Engineering Education”, PI: C. Ted Lee

after graduation where does a che work
After graduation, where does a ChE work?
  • Only about a quarter of ChE grads go to work in the chemical industry
  • Many of our recent graduates have gone to work in new and emerging areas of importance
who s hiring usc engineering career fair october 12 2006


L-3 Communications- Electron Tech.

Lam Research

Lawrence Livermore Nat. Lab.

Micron Technology, Inc.


State Water Res. Control Board

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

Valero Energy Corporation


Xerox Corporation

Abbott Vascular

Aerospace Corporation

Boeing Company

Central Intelligence Agency

CH2M Hill

Deloitte Consulting

Ecmtek, Inc.

Eler & Kanlinowski

Energy Corporation of America

ENVIRON International Company


Honeywell International

Intel Corporation

Who’s Hiring?(USC ENGINEERING CAREER FAIR - October 12, 2006

Over 25 companies actively recruiting ChE/PTE/MASC graduates (class size ~ 20)

macroscopic vs molecular
Macroscopic vs. Molecular
  • The bio/nano emphasis of research will likely result in new technologies, which will lead to an even greater number of graduates working in “nontraditional” enterprises
  • So how then can the faculty continue to prepare highly-qualified students for today’s changing workplace? macroscopic  molecular
  • Chemical engineering is uniquely positioned between molecular sciences and engineering
what courses do students take
What courses do students take?
  • ChE 120 – Introduction to Chemical Engineering
    • conservation of mass and energy
  • ChE 330 – Thermodynamics
    • thermo (heat), dynamics (flow)
  • ChE 350 – Separations
    • over 75% of the production costs for chemicals/synthetic materials
  • ChE 442 – Chemical Kinetics
    • reaction rates, enzymes, etc.
  • ChE 443 – Viscous Flow
    • flow through pipes, etc.
  • ChE 444 – Unit Operations
    • components in a typical manufacturing facility
  • ChE 445/446 – Molecular Transport Processes
    • diffusion vs. heat
  • ChE 460 – Process Control
    • automation
  • ChE 480 – Plant Design
    • putting it all together…
che 120 introduction to chemical engineering



new approach

traditional method




Hong U. Wong (USC STAR Program)

and B.J. Gill (Merit Research Scholar)

ChE 120 – Introduction to Chemical Engineering
  • Mass and energy balances (neither can be created or destroyed)
che 330 thermodynamics
ChE 330 – Thermodynamics
  • Total energy (E) of a system:
    • Kinetic Energy (K.E.) – velocity of the center of mass
    • Potential Energy (P.E.) – location of the center of mass
    • Internal Energy (U) – associated with molecular motions,
          • interactions, and bonds in the system

Thermodynamicsis concerned with internal energy changes

E = K.E. + P.E. + U

Frink: And these should give you the grounding you'll need in thermodynamics, hypermathematics, and of course microcalifragilistics.Homer: Look, I just wanna know how to invent things...tell me!

customizing your degree

Emphasis of

ChE Students

‘01 ‘02 ‘03 ‘04 ‘05

Customizing your degree
  • ChE students may select an “emphasis” in a particular field (biochemical, environmental, and petroleum engineering, polymer science)
  • Most students take advantage of this opportunity
  • Biochemical Engineering and Nanotechnology are the most popular emphases


Hard Soft

Nanocrystals, micelles, polymers,

Q-dots proteins







ordering, packing, nano-templating,

chemical kinetics dispersion polym.,


Nanotechnology Option

CHE 487 Nanotechnology and Nanoscale Engineering Through Chemical Processes

Focus: Chemical engineering fundamentals and engineering science

Topics: Properties of materials on the nanometer scale, probes capable of visualizing

matter on these length scales, techniques of processing nanoscale materials.

CHE 491 Nanotechnology Research for Undergraduates

Focus: Experimental learning

Topics: Individual research for the completion of the degree project, to be taken during

both semesters in the senior year.

MASC 350 Design, Synthesis and Processing of Engineering Materials

Focus: Engineering science (top-down approach to nanotechnology)

Topics: Structure, properties, synthesis, and design of metallic, ceramic, polymeric,

electronic, composite, nanostructured and biomaterials; microfabrication.

CHEM 453 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry

Focus: Fundamental (bottom-up approach to nanotechnology)

Topics: Atomic and molecular structure, bonding, coordination compounds, transition

and nontransition metals, magnetic and optical properties, crystal field theory.

Nanotechnical Electives

EE/MASC 438L Processing for Microelectronics

Focus: Technical (microelectronics)

Topics: Applications and electrical evaluation of selected processes in microfabrication.

-or- CHE 489 Biochemical Engineering

Focus: Technical (bionanotechnology)

Topics: Biological and biochemical processes and materials, separation/purification

of biological products; proteins, enzymes, and nucleic acids.

-or- CHE 463L Introduction to Transport Processes in Porous Media

Focus: Technical (nanomaterials)

Topics: Single- and multi-phase flow though porous media; diffusion and heat transfer.


Nanotechnology “Degree Projects”

NSF-DUE-0633372 “A Degree Project Approach to Engineering Education”, PI: C. Ted Lee



Nano-module #1: Synthesis of Gold

gold nanoparticles

  • ChE is not just chemical engineering
  • Graduates go to work in many diverse areas
  • A broad range of scientific and engineering topics are covered in the curriculum, making ChE grads highly desired (and making the curriculum increasingly difficult to teach)
  • ChE students at USC can further fine tune there degrees with an academic emphasis

1. Do your own experiences as a learner influence your teaching approaches when you teach? In what way?

2. “Critical reflection” is described as “a deliberate, consistent, systematic effort to uncover assumptions”: As you reflect on your teaching, what might have been erroneous assumptions that, upon critical reflection, needed your attention regarding either the effectiveness of a teaching approach or one aspect of student learning?

3. What type of student feedback do you find most helpful to your own critical reflection and, thus, your assessment about your teaching?

4. Research has shown that College teaching should not be an isolating profession: critical reflection about teaching requires a community of peers; it’s a social process: one needs peer feedback and emotional support. Do you agree? Why?