Forums and symposiums;
Journal and newspaper articles; and
Gron concluded that the current community must be prepared to encourage people into green chemistry and everything else will follow.
On the second day of the workshop, breakout sessions allowed participants to delve deeper into the issues surrounding green chemistry and engineering. Workshop participants were assigned to breakout groups, and the results of those breakout sessions that corresponded with the session on “Where do we go from here?” in green chemistry and engineering education are listed below.
In this breakout session, participants explored green chemistry and engineering incentives, impediments, and ways to remove the impediments in both academia and industry. The absence of a clear vision statement and the lack of scientists in the policy-making arena pose significant barriers for both academia and industry. The participants acknowledged that potential regulatory barriers in industry exist. There was also a general feeling that industry will not adopt green principles unless there is market demand. In academia there are inadequate numbers of faculty trained in green chemistry and engineering, a lack of available tools, a competition between green and traditional coursework, a lack of time for approval or implementation, and tenure criteria not viewing green chemistry as a rigorous discipline.
The group was able to identify incentives for academia and industry. For industry regulations, ISO-like certification and a viable market could act as incentives for companies to adopt green processes. Other ideas for incentives for academia and industry that could potentially raise awareness and decrease skepticism included:
Presenting awards for excellence in green chemistry and engineering education, possibly connected to Green Chemistry Challenge awards;
Having more leaders in green chemistry and engineering speak at general conferences and meetings;
Developing materials that explain the relevance of green chemistry and engineering to other areas, such as policy, economics, and public health;
Providing business cases based on real examples to encourage industry;
Highlighting green principles in university and industry wide publications;
Connecting green chemistry and engineering to major sustainability issues;
Indicating the need for green chemistry or engineering experience in employment announcements;
Utilizing ACS for proposing short courses in green chemistry and engineering; and
Recruiting ACS members to buy into green chemistry and engineering by teaching it and speaking about it.
The participants identified ways that green chemistry and engineering could be incorporated into future curricula. Most participants believed that the following items are needed to implement green principles into curricula:
Provision of high-quality materials and resources, such as:
Improvements to current materials and resources by replacing lessons in books that incorporate green chemistry and engineering;
An overall intellectual framework for green chemistry and engineering modules;
Seminars centered on green chemistry and engineering; and
Published articles highlighting green chemistry and engineering in major academic journals.
Development of interdisciplinary interactions by finding simple access points in other disciplines where green chemistry and engineering are applicable;
Recognition through awards; and
Changes to current curricula to accommodate green chemistry and engineering, such as:
Offering green chemistry and engineering electives; and
Having laboratory managers incorporate green chemistry and engineering concepts into laboratory experiments at all levels.
The subject of developing specific degree tracks in green chemistry and engineering raised a number of differing views in the breakout session. Some participants believed that green chemistry and engineering need to be an integral part of all good degree programs and taught in an interdisciplinary manner at the graduate level. However, these participants thought that a specific degree track would limit a degree candidate’s career opportunities. There were other participants that supported the idea of a specific degree track. The group suggested that a master’s-level program leading to a Ph.D. degree could fill a niche that a Ph.D. program alone cannot fill. Most participants agreed that an undergraduate degree was not appropriate because Bachelor of Science graduates are trained to be generalists; graduate degree programs are more specialized.