Chemistry Upper-Division Curricular Restructuring

PI: Colin Thomas, Department of Chemistry, Carroll College

The chemistry faculty at Carroll College has initiated a re-organization of their upper-division course offerings that will employ inquiry-based learning for the laboratory experiences. Shifting the learning outcomes from being tied to a particular course to a series of integrated lab courses which incorporate faculty research into the curriculum will afford students better opportunities to apply and extend their training to open-ended problems and the creation of new knowledge. Rather than presenting material to students in the traditional manner (which segments the sub-disciplines), the intention of this total course redesign is to integrate the chemistry learning experience so that students understand how the sub-disciplines relate to each other.

There are significant benefits to this approach, particularly for a primarily undergraduate teaching institution. The new educational experience for faculty and students will: 1) challenges students' creativity and require them to apply their training to solve open-ended problems, 2) integrate workload for faculty by allowing their research agenda to be advanced as part of the curriculum, 3) facilitate collaborative and novel investigations among faculty and students with different interests and expertise, and 4) increase the number of and better prepare students for continuing studies in STEM disciplines.


Contact Information

Mail: Colin Thomas
Department of Chemistry
Carroll College
Helena, MT 59625
E-mail: Colin Thomas
Phone: (406) 447-5476

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Updated September 19, 2014