Department of Chemistry Seminar Series: Ginger Shultz
Friday, November 17, 2017 - 3:15pm
Department of Chemistry Seminar Series: Ginger Shultz

Science Building I, room 107, 1025 SW Mill Street
Free & open to the public

University of Michigan Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Ginger Shultz, will present Exploring the Nature of Graduate Student Instructors' Knowledge for Teaching Chemistry at the Department of Chemistry's weekly seminar series

About Professor Shultz

The Shultz group conducts educational research aimed at understanding the teaching and learning of college level chemistry.  This research is highly interdisciplinary; it requires a strong foundation in chemistry and employs both qualitative and quantitative research methods from education. Group members pursue full time educational research as the primary focus of their doctoral dissertation or through joint dissertation projects that include work in both education and another area.  Graduate students who are interested in pursuing full time PhD research in another area can do shorter education projects for the MS Degree in Post-secondary Education or through the Chemistry Department Future Faculty GSI program. Group research areas will be of interest to those students who plan to pursue academic careers or other career paths such as community outreach or policy.

Advancing research in university-level education requires better evidence for demonstrating student learning than surveys and multiple choice tests. Such forced-response assessments are inadequate for measuring students’ ability to produce new knowledge. As an alternative writing provides richer information about student thinking, but is time intensive to analyze. We are working to circumvent this issue by leveraging automated text analysis, which has the capacity to validly and efficiently assess large quantities of student writing.

Successful deployment of innovative curriculum requires instructors who are prepared to teach it. Graduate student instructors play a major role in introductory chemistry courses at doctorate granting institutions and therefore their instruction may have an outsized impact on student learning. However, graduate student instructor training is often over-generalized and brief. We are addressing the need for graduate students who are well-prepared to teach, by designing approaches to develop their teaching expertise.

Innovative curricula, such as inquiry, problem-based learning, or authentic research-based models, engage students in scientific practice and transform their role from passive consumers of knowledge to active producers of knowledge. To engage authentically in the practice of chemistry, students must be able to find and evaluate outside information in order to assess the current state of chemistry knowledge related to their experimental goals. Thus implementation of such curricula requires that chemistry information literacy skills be cultivated alongside scientific inquiry skills. We design and test instructional methods that develop students ability to find, evaluate, and use outside information to solve chemistry problems during inquiry or problem-based classroom activities.

About the Department of Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry maintains a teaching program of excellence at the undergraduate level and a graduate program emphasizing cutting-edge research in the chemistry of the environment, novel materials and biological systems. The Department's curriculum, faculty, library, and facilities of the department are accredited by the American Chemical Society.