The Chemistry program has an active Student-as-Practitioner program, which engages students in inquiry-based learning beginning as early as the general chemistry course. Students are presented with real world problems that need to be investigated as they are learning the concepts of investigation. In the organic chemistry courses (CHM 203/204) the students are asked to learn purification techniques in order to synthesize vanillin (the odor molecule from vanilla) from eugenol (the odor molecule from cloves). Then the students are asked to develop a methodology of their own design for investigating one of a series of possible projects. This model is also applied in the Analytical Chemistry course (CHM 201).
Other courses in the upper-levels continue this project-based approach but give more ownership of the topic choice and design to the students. This method culminates in the capstone course in Thermodynamics and Kinetics (CHM 420), where the students are asked to identify a problem and then find the solution. These projects, if successful, are later added to the list of potential projects for students in earlier courses. Examples of these projects include the aforementioned eugenol to vanillin synthesis (CHM 204); the effectiveness of cleaners on various stains (CHM 100); the kinetics of dissolution (CHM 132); and the accelerated formation of limestone caves (CHM 200).Learn more about the Student As Practitioner Program