Center for Workshops in the Chemical Sciences (CWCS): Promoting Innovation in Chemical Education Through Workshops and Community Building


David M. Collard and Cianan L. Russell

Author Affiliation: 

Georgia Institute of Technology




A retrospective: Over the past seven years, the Center for Workshops in the Chemical Sciences (CWCS) has provided 74 workshops at 27 host institutions on a variety of topical areas. These have served more than 1350 participants who have used the material from the workshops in a number of ways to improve undergraduate education at their home institutions. An overview of the Center's activities will be presented to highlight the broad impact of the program. The Center's activities are supported by the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education, Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program as a “Phase III” project (0618678). An assessment of the CWCS: Each workshop is a unique experience and requires individualized attention and evaluation Center-wide assessment is appropriate because of the consistency in approach and delivery encouraged by the program. Current assessment findings show that participants have positive overall experiences with CWCS workshops and would recommend the workshops to colleagues. This talk will address the evaluations of CWCS that have occurred to date and future plans, including student-based assessment of long-term affects, and follow-up evaluations with past participants. A prospective: Towards communities of scholars: The forensic chemistry workshop uses the fascination with crime detection and the discovery pedagogical approach to stimulate interest in science and technology. A new initiative of the CWCS is to build strong “Communities of Scholars” in topical areas to further disseminate new and innovative content, and to spread the use of good pedagogical practice in the teaching of chemistry at the undergraduate level. The alumni of the forensic workshops will form the nucleus of the first community with a home on the Forensic Science Community of Scholars website.
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