Archived 2022 Events and Information




Rethinking Assessment in Chemistry

Friday December 2, 2022, at 1100 Pacific = 1200 Mountain = 100pm Central = 200pm Eastern




Vicente Talanquer, PhD

University Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, University of Arizona

Abstract: Assessment in chemistry typically focuses on students’ ability to reproduce specific information or problem-solving strategy. We often take a “toolbox” approach that evaluates whether students can deploy isolated pieces of knowledge or skills to answer disconnected questions. These assessments fail to elicit meaningful learning and students’ ability to integrate central ideas in the discipline, scientific practices, and ways of reasoning to think about relevant problems or phenomena. Many of these assessment approaches also lead to inequities in the evaluation of student learning in the classroom and the laboratory. In this talk, I will illustrate and discuss how we are re-conceptualizing the assessment of student understanding in our college general chemistry courses seeking to enrich and diversify the evidence we collect to characterize student understanding. I will also discuss some of the challenges we face to build an equitable assessment system.



Using Deliberation in the Chemistry Classroom to Discuss the Complex Socio-Scientific Issue of Water Quality

Friday November 4, 2022, at 1100 Pacific = 1200 Mountain = 100pm Central = 200pm Eastern


Archived materials here



Reni Joseph, Ph. D. Professor of Chemistry, St. Louis Community College, St. Louis, MO
Laura M. Wysocki, Ph.D. Associate Professor and Chair of Chemistry, Wabash College


Abstract: As we prepare students to be tomorrow’s scientists, there is a natural focus on technical knowledge, but scientists are also experts involved in addressing multi-disciplinary socio-scientific issues in society.  Deliberative pedagogy emphasizes this important role through the facilitated discussion of social issues with a technical component.  We will describe a module in general chemistry about environmental contaminants that encourages students to listen to diverse perspectives, recognize underlying values of different approaches to a problem, weigh tradeoffs, and engage in inclusive decision-making about how we should address water quality in our society.



The Dragonfly Mercury Project: Assessing Mercury Risk to Ecosystem Health Across the U.S.

Friday October 21, 2022, at 1100 Pacific = 1200 Mountain = 100pm Central = 200pm Eastern

Collin Eagles-Smith (Supervisory Research Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey)

Colleen Flanagan Pritz (Ecologist, National Park Service – Air Resources Division)


Abstract: The Dragonfly Mercury Project (DMP) is a nationwide program that pairs scientific efforts to understand mercury pollution risks with public engagement and education. Mercury is a toxic contaminant that threatens human and wildlife health. Dragonfly larvae serve as indicators of mercury contamination in fish and aquatic food webs. Since 2009, over 6,000 citizen scientists and community volunteers have helped collect dragonfly larvae from more than 140 national parks and protected lands for mercury analysis. The DMP has emerged as a critically unique study that connects people to parks, promotes scientific literacy, and provides high-quality data on mercury contamination and risk to resource managers and policymakers.


Friday October 2nd


What’s in the Water? Screening for Trace Organic Contaminants in U.S. National Parks

Sarah Elliott, Hydrologist, USGS Upper Midwest Water Science Center
Dave VanderMeulen, Aquatic Ecologist, NPS Great Lakes & Monitoring Network

Abstract: The National Park Service’s Inventory and Monitoring Program (NPS I&M) conducts regular water quality monitoring and biomonitoring as part of its Vital Signs program to assess current conditions and detect long-term trends. Baseline data related to the presence of trace organic contaminants (TrOCs) in national park waters was identified as a gap in the vital signs program. Therefore, in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, NPS I&M and park staff sampled 270 surface water sites across 47 national parks over a 10-yr period to assess the presence and concentrations of TrOCs. Samples were characterized for up to 400 TrOCs including waste indicators (comprising a variety of contaminants), pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and pesticides. A total of 156 TrOCs were detected at least once, but only 4 were detected in ≥20% of samples. Some TrOCs were present at concentrations that may be harmful to aquatic biota. Results from this monitoring effort fill important knowledge gaps and can be used to inform future monitoring efforts within the parks.



Friday September 23nd


The Chemistry of Glass
Archived materials here

Presenter: Nate Stephenson, PhD. Scientist Emeritus, U.S. Geological Survey.

Abstract: During my four decades as a place-based scientist in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, I’ve watched climate change effects go from distant abstraction -- which we largely ignored -- to acute threats to the very resources the parks were formed to protect.  Changes have been sudden rather than gradual, and unexpected rather than anticipated by models or experts.  More broadly, rapid environmental changes are forcing tectonic shifts in the missions of national parks and other protected areas, and in the research agendas needed to support them.  I offer a “from-the-trenches” assessment of these extraordinary ongoing changes.



Friday March 22nd


From distant abstraction to urgent reality:  Watching climate change reshape an iconic national park
Archived materials here

Presenter: Charlene Smith, PhD, Corporate Fellow, Corning Incorporated

Abstract: Glass is part of our lives.  The windows that protect us from the elements while letting us enjoy natural light; the smart phone screens that we trust won’t shatter; the optical fiber that transmits our data; the baking dishes that we use to make dinner; the screens on our large format TVs – these are all made of glass, engineered with specific compositions for each particular application.  In this talk we’ll discuss glass composition and what compositions are used for different applications.  We’ll also discuss chemical trends of different glass components and how these trends affect glass properties.




Friday April 15th


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Birds of a Feather Session (DEI BoF)


Akiko Nakamura, Gulf Coast State College (FL)

Carol Stallworth, Hillsborough Community College (FL)

Ken Friedrich, Portland Community College (OR)
Monica Marie Arroyo, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Puerto Rico

Abstract: Interested in DEI or have some interesting DEI experiences to share? Come to the DEI BoF! We will have a short panel discussion followed by moderated conversations about what faculty such as yourself have done, would like to do, and wish they knew. There is something here for everyone. Looking forward to sharing and hearing your ideas and experiences!



Friday March 25th


Students' Understandings of Multiple Representations in Chemistry
Archived materials here

Presenter: Stacey Lowery Bretz, Ph.D.

Title: Special Assistant to the Provost for Academic Initiatives, University Distinguished Professor

Affiliation: Miami University

Abstract: Learning in STEM courses requires students to become fluent in the symbolic language of the particular discipline. Developing expertise, however, requires that students move beyond manipulating symbols to creating explanations using particulate models of matter for observations in the laboratory. Failure to accurately interpret and connect these multiple representations of matter creates challenges for students when learning. Our research group designs measurement tools to advance our understanding of how students understand and interpret representations for a variety of core concepts. Findings regarding students’ reasoning with multiple representations and the implications for assessment will be presented using examples from multiple chemistry courses.


Friday February 18th


Toxicology for Chemists: Integrating Toxicology Principles into Higher Education Chemistry Courses
Archived materials here

Presenter: Nimrat Obhi, PhD

Title: Program Manager

Affiliation: Higher Education at Beyond Benign

Abstract: A current key sustainability challenge is that scientists are not trained how to address hazards when designing chemical products. Specifically, chemists lack training in toxicology: what makes a molecule hazardous to human health and the environment? To address this knowledge gap, Beyond Benign – a non-profit dedicated to universal green chemistry education – has designed and released an open-access Toxicology for Chemists curriculum. The curriculum has been developed by a group of key experts and contains lectures, supplementary material, and additional resources to allow educators and current and future scientists to understand and practice chemistry that is safe and responsible for society. In this talk I will provide an overview of the curriculum, how the course modules can be used, and the support that Beyond Benign can provide to educators who want to implement elements into their courses.


Friday February 11th


The Effect of Multiple Assessment Opportunities on Student Achievement in a Large General Chemistry Course
Archived materials here

Presenter: Jill K. Robinson, PhD

Title: Teaching Professor

Affiliation: Department of Chemistry, Indiana University


Abstract: Mastery-based grading involves assessing student mastery of a defined set of learning objectives. Students have multiple attempts to demonstrate understanding of an objective and are not penalized for failing on earlier attempts.  A mastery grading system was piloted in a small general chemistry course at Indiana University and resulted in a remarkable increase in student achievement.  However, it would be too complicated and time consuming to implement a similar grading scheme in a very large class.  Instead, multiple assessment opportunities and collaborative, post assessment exercises were used in a large general chemistry course with 700 students.  The practical implementation of additional assessments, outcomes of student achievement, and lessons learned will be discussed.

Friday February 4th


Climate Justice in Undergraduate STEM Teaching: Incorporating Civic Engagement (C-JUSTICE)
Archived materials here

Presenter: Sonya Remington Doucette, PhD

Professional title: Senior Association Professor of Chemistry and Earth & Space Sciences

Affiliation: Bellevue College (WA)

Abstract: This presentation will provide an overview of a climate justice faculty professional development (PD) curriculum that incorporates community and civic engagement across the STEM curriculum. The faculty PD curriculum was developed at Bellevue College (BC) by Dr. Sonya Remington Doucette in 2018 and adopted by North Seattle College (NSC) under the leadership of Dr. Heather Price in 2019, forming a collaboration between the institutions that led to a successful NSF IUSE grant that is currently underway. BC and NSC are community colleges located in the Puget Sound region of Washington state. This presentation will describe the faculty PD curriculum and the goals of C-JUSTICE NSF IUSE project, and will include preliminary findings of the IUSE evaluation of the project.

Friday January 28th


How to Incorporate Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Respect in the Chemistry Classroom
Archived materials here


Presenter: Akiko Nakamura, PhD

Professional title: Associate Professor of Chemistry

Affiliation: Gulf Coast State College

Abstract: With changes in the nation’s demographic profile, it is important to identify approaches to foster appreciation for diversity, equity, inclusion and respect (DEIR) into the chemistry classroom.

Join me to learn about DEIR activities encouraging awareness of diversity and understand implicit bias in order for science and engineering education to broaden perspectives and become more inclusive.

What you will learn:

          The importance of DEIR.

          How to incorporate DEIR activities in chemistry education.

          Students’ feedback on effective activities that promote the importance of DEIR and social awareness.