Research: Graduate Education. Our research group is primarily interested in the investigation of numerous aspects of graduate education in the chemical sciences and other disciplines. National conservations within the ACS,1 NRC,2 and all the way up to the President’s Office3 have criticized traditional approaches to graduate education in the physical sciences. In an era where unemployment is rising and careers increasingly rely on interdisciplinary skills for highly educated and highly skilled doctoral recipients, our research group will investigate what knowledge and skills are needed to secure careers in the chemical sciences and solve the world’s problems. With educational objectives backed by evidence, chemistry departments across the country can benefit from a clearer picture of what graduate students will need upon receiving their degrees. We will additionally be testing non-traditional approaches to graduate education and comparing relevant educational and professional outcomes to more traditional approaches.
1The American Chemical Society (2012). Advancing Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences.
2Fransisco, J., Bergman, R., Kresge, C. & Pay, D. (2012). Challenges in Chemistry Graduate Education: A Workshop Summary
3President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (2012). Transformation and opportunity: The future of the U.S. Research Enterprise.
Research: COPUS. The Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS)4is a commonly-used classroom observation tool. This tool is a primarily objective characterization of STEM classrooms that has demonstrated to be useful both as evidence for researchers and feedback for instructors. We have previously discovered 7 instructional profiles using COPUS observations from over 2,000 instructors across the country in various STEM disciplines and now have plans to develop better feedback for instructors.
4Smith, M.K., Jones, F.H.M., Gilbert, S.L., & Wieman, C.E. (2014). The Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS): A New Instrument to Characterize University STEM Classroom Practices. CBE Life Sci. Educ. 12(4), 618-627.