2

Drivers and Metrics

“We all realize if the public were chemically educated, the world could be a much better place. And yet, we do not do as much as we could to address students in the life sciences, in the humanities, and [other disciplines].”

Miguel Garcia-Garibay

“Is there something wrong with chemistry education?” asked session chair Miguel Garcia-Garibay of the University of California, Los Angeles. “Are there things that need to be changed or are there simply opportunities to adopt new technologies, new skill sets from undergraduate students that perhaps could help us modify things? Is the need for more STEM professionals sufficient to make us rethink how we address undergraduate chemical education?” Garcia-Garibay asked these questions to start a discussion aimed at laying out the logic underpinning efforts to reform the way chemistry is taught to undergraduates, to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors as well as those in disciplines that use chemistry as an essential component of their skill set, such as pre-med students.

This chapter summarizes the presentations of five speakers at the workshop that addressed various aspects of why there might be a need to reform chemistry education and the ensuing open discussion. Alexandra Killewald of Harvard University discussed whether American science is in decline. Next, S. James Gates, Jr., of the University of Maryland and a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), provided PCAST’s perspective on the needs for STEM education and a STEM-educated workforce. Anne McCoy, of The Ohio State University and Chair of the American Chemical Society’s (ACS’s) Committee on Professional Training (CPT), described the role of the ACS Guidelines for Bachelor’s Degree Programs in setting standards for undergraduate chemistry education. The potential impact of the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) revisions on undergraduate chemistry education, one of the catalysts for this workshop, was discussed by Joel Shulman, of the University of Cincinnati and a member of the CPT. Last, Susan Hixson, who until her retirement in 2012 served as a program director in National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Division of Undergraduate Education, concluded the presentations with some lessons learned from NSF’s experiences in undergraduate chemistry education.

IS AMERICAN SCIENCE IN DECLINE?

“Sometimes I think we are so focused on thinking about what is wrong with American science we do not take a step back to think about the fact the United States is actually the undisputed leader of contemporary world science in a way that is unprecedented in history,” said Alexandra Killewald. Killewald cited statistics showing that the United States accounts for 40 percent of global research and development spending, 38 percent of new patented technology, and 45 percent of the Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, and physiology and medicine. Over one-third of scientific publications worldwide come from U.S. researchers, almost half of all citations are to papers written by U.S. authors, and nearly two-thirds of the papers published in highly cited journals come from U.S. laboratories. In addition, 15 of the world’s top 20 universities are located the United States. “The influence of the U.S. on global science is enormous,” Killewald emphasized.

If, as the statistics suggest, the United States is a global leader in science, why is there worry about the state of American science? Killewald and her colleague Yu Xie, of the University of Michigan, coauthored a book, Is American Science in Decline? (Xie and Killewald 2012), that takes a look at this issue. Killewald and Xie termed the position that society should be concerned about the state of American science as the “alarmist view.” Killewald credited the alarmist view to the National Research Council’s report Rising Above the Gathering Storm (NRC 2007). The NRC report raised the prospect of an impending shortage of U.S. scientists, which could affect American economic competiveness, said Killewald. She characterized the NRC report as “one of the



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2 Drivers and Metrics “We all realize if the public were chemically educated, the world could be a much better place. And yet, we do not do as much as we could to address students in the life sciences, in the humanities, and [other disciplines].” Miguel Garcia-Garibay “Is there something wrong with chemistry education?” presentations with some lessons learned from NSF’s experi- asked session chair Miguel Garcia-Garibay of the University ences in undergraduate chemistry education. of California, Los Angeles. “Are there things that need to be changed or are there simply opportunities to adopt new IS AMERICAN SCIENCE IN DECLINE? technologies, new skill sets from undergraduate students that perhaps could help us modify things? Is the need for more “Sometimes I think we are so focused on thinking about STEM professionals sufficient to make us rethink how we what is wrong with American science we do not take a step address undergraduate chemical education?” Garcia-Garibay back to think about the fact the United States is actually the asked these questions to start a discussion aimed at laying out undisputed leader of contemporary world science in a way the logic underpinning efforts to reform the way chemistry is that is unprecedented in history,” said Alexandra Killewald. taught to undergraduates, to science, technology, engineer- Killewald cited statistics showing that the United States ing, and math (STEM) majors as well as those in disciplines accounts for 40 percent of global research and development that use chemistry as an essential component of their skill spending, 38 percent of new patented technology, and 45 set, such as pre-med students. percent of the Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, and physi- This chapter summarizes the presentations of five speak- ology and medicine. Over one-third of scientific publications ers at the workshop that addressed various aspects of why worldwide come from U.S. researchers, almost half of all there might be a need to reform chemistry education and the citations are to papers written by U.S. authors, and nearly ensuing open discussion. Alexandra Killewald of Harvard two-thirds of the papers published in highly cited journals University discussed whether American science is in decline. come from U.S. laboratories. In addition, 15 of the world’s Next, S. James Gates, Jr., of the University of Maryland and top 20 universities are located the United States. “The influ- a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science ence of the U.S. on global science is enormous,” Killewald and Technology (PCAST), provided PCAST’s perspective emphasized. on the needs for STEM education and a STEM-educated If, as the statistics suggest, the United States is a global workforce. Anne McCoy, of The Ohio State University and leader in science, why is there worry about the state of Chair of the American Chemical Society’s (ACS’s) Commit- American science? Killewald and her colleague Yu Xie, of tee on Professional Training (CPT), described the role of the the University of Michigan, coauthored a book, Is American ACS Guidelines for Bachelor’s Degree Programs in setting Science in Decline? (Xie and Killewald 2012), that takes a standards for undergraduate chemistry education. The poten- look at this issue. Killewald and Xie termed the position that tial impact of the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) society should be concerned about the state of American sci- revisions on undergraduate chemistry education, one of the ence as the “alarmist view.” Killewald credited the alarmist catalysts for this workshop, was discussed by Joel Shulman, view to the National Research Council’s report Rising Above of the University of Cincinnati and a member of the CPT. the Gathering Storm (NRC 2007). The NRC report raised Last, Susan Hixson, who until her retirement in 2012 served the prospect of an impending shortage of U.S. scientists, as a program director in National Science Foundation’s which could affect American economic competiveness, said (NSF’s) Division of Undergraduate Education, concluded the Killewald. She characterized the NRC report as “one of the 3

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4 UNDERGRADUATE CHEMISTRY EDUCATION most significant reports for U.S. science policy in recent growth in science is not “a prediction of doomsday,” but an history,” noting that it led quickly to more than two dozen indication that the gap between the United States and other bills aimed at strengthening American science and the cre- countries participating in global science” is narrowing. In ation of a number of task forces to investigate this concern. terms of academic performance, schoolchildren in countries Addressing whether there is evidence for the alarmist view, with economic resources similar to those of the United Killewald said, “to some extent, the answer is certainly yes,” States, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, score substantially and she cited three main factors. First, the length of time higher in math and science than those in the United States on between a Ph.D. program and the first independent science a gross domestic product (GDP) per-capita basis. “This is the job is increasing. The number of years it takes to complete kind of result I see most commonly in the popular media,” a Ph.D., the number of postdoctoral positions that emerg- she said. However, Killewald maintained that “this picture is ing scientists need before securing their first job, and the not one of failure to perform by the U.S., but it is a picture number of postdoctoral fellows are all on the rise, explained of average performance, and we might think we should do Killewald. Second, there are unfavorable labor market better than that.” outcomes for scientists. New scientists’ wages are falling Another area of concern is whether the United States relative to the wages of other similarly trained professions, relies too heavily on immigrant scientists. Killewald cited particularly lawyers and doctors. “Falling relative financial statistics showing that the physical sciences relative to other rewards might be one reason” why students might consider subfields have long had a slightly higher reliance on foreign- alternative careers to science, Killewald noted. born scientists and continue to do so. In fact, the percentage A third factor, one that Killewald says receives the most of native-born Americans going into the physical sciences attention, is the idea that international competition, espe- has declined steadily since 1960. As far as the student popu- cially from continental East Asia, is threatening the dominant lation is concerned, the fraction of foreign-born bachelor’s position of U.S. science. The average annual growth rate in degree students in science is only about 6 percent and that output of science and engineering publications of eastern number has been steady since the late 1970s. It is only at Asian countries far exceeds that of the United States, Europe, the level of graduate degrees that there is an increase in the and Japan (see Table 2-1). Killewald stated that international number of foreign-born students. Despite the evidence in favor of the alarmist view, Killewald said there are “some real sparks of strength in the TABLE 2-1  Average Annual Growth Rate (%) in Science U.S. scientific picture.” For example, the American scientific and Engineering Article Output labor force is growing as a share of the total workforce. Also, United in surveys of the general public, “scientist” continues to be   States EU-15 Japan East Asia-4 regarded as a high-prestige occupation. In fact, the American Biology public continues to express confidence in the leaders of the scientific community and to endorse public funding for basic 1988-1992 1.7 6.4 4.6 17.7 scientific research. Academically, U.S. schoolchildren’s scores on standardized tests in math and science are rising, 1992-2003 1.1 4.1 3.9 16.0 and more U.S. students are completing advanced course- work. Killewald said that an increasing number of high Chemistry school students are taking and passing Advanced Placement tests in science and math and an increasing number are taking 1988-1992 4.2 5.7 6.6 33.3 calculus in high school. 1992-2003 1.2 2.3 2.4 16.1 There has also been no decline in the pursuit of scientific higher education over the past 40 years. Citing data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES 1972, Physics 1980, 1988), Killewald noted that the percentage of students 1988-1992 5.1 10.6 10.9 19.7 receiving bachelor’s degrees who are in the top quartile of math achievement in high school has risen substantially 1992-2003 0.3 3.4 4.4 14.3 over the past 40 years, with a nearly 50 percent increase among women getting bachelor’s degrees (see Table 2-2). Mathematics What has not changed much over that time is the percent- age of men and women receiving science-related bachelor’s 1988-1992 -2.0 3.2 -8.1 18.1 degrees—nearly a third of men and approximately 13 per- 1992-2003 1.4 6.7 8.0 14.2 cent of women. However, the percentage of students getting bachelor’s degrees with a physical science major has fallen SOURCE: Harvard University Press. by over 50 percent for both women and men. The physical

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DRIVERS AND METRICS 5 TABLE 2-2  Bachelor’s Degree and Science Major Attainment SOURCE: Harvard University Press. sciences are losing some ground to engineering for males that this was likely to be the case given the rise in students and the life sciences for females. Killewald said that the going into the medical sciences. She added that impacts of same trend appears to be holding true for graduate degrees, the Great Recession are likely to include students placing both in science overall and the physical sciences specifically. an increased emphasis on taking courses that will lead to Returning to her original question—Is American sci- jobs, and she expected that fact to increase enrollment in ence in decline?—Killewald said she and Xiu contend the scientific courses. answer is a qualified no. “We think the evidence of health David Harwell from the ACS commented that while the in American science generally outweighs the concerns.” supply of graduates with science degrees may have remained She acknowledged that “the question of whether you think constant or increased in some areas, the demand side of the American science is doing well or not depends on your point equation does not look as good. Research by the ACS indi- of comparison.” From an international perspective, it could cates that innovation is down compared with that in other be said that America’s leadership in science may soon be countries, unemployment rates among chemists are up, and challenged. “It is easy to see looking in your rearview mir- salaries have fallen in inflation-adjusted terms. Killewald ror that other folks are catching up fast.” From a historical responded that these data support the idea that the problem perspective, U.S.-based science is not in decline, but rather is one of oversupply, not a shortage in some fields and par- is “doing as well as or better than before in terms of our ticularly in academia. own performance.” As a final thought, Killewald emphasized that it is important to remember that there are collaboration A PCAST PERSPECTIVE ON STEM EDUCATION IN THE benefits arising from globalization in addition to competi- NEW MILLENNIUM tion costs. “The rise in science in other countries brings new perspectives to the scientific enterprise” that can result S. James Gates, Jr., described the role of PCAST, a civilian in scientific advancement and benefit the American people. advisory group that makes science policy recommendations Matthew Tarr, from the University of New Orleans, com- to the President, and PCAST’s activities and positions on mented that he has seen a dramatic increase in the number science education and workforce. During the Obama Admin- of chemistry majors and students taking general chemistry istration, PCAST has produced several reports focused on courses over the past 3 years and asked if Killewald had more STEM education and workforce: Prepare and Inspire: K-12 recent data on national trends. She replied that data from the Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math cohort of students who graduated from high school in 2002 (STEM) for America’s Future (PCAST 2010) and Engage were not yet available when she and Xie wrote their book, but to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Gradu-

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6 UNDERGRADUATE CHEMISTRY EDUCATION ates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and increase from 5.0 percent of total jobs in the United States Mathematics (PCAST 2012a). Referring to Killewald’s to 5.3 percent, an increase equivalent to one million jobs presentation, Gates said that he and his PCAST colleagues from growth alone. In addition, over one million jobs that agree with the alarmist view, given their prospective, rather exist currently will need replacement employees to account than retrospective, view of the health of the U.S. science and for turnover in the workforce. In other words, the projected technology enterprise. Of particular concern, he said, is the number of life, physical, and social science technician job decreased amount the country is investing in science, noting openings will far exceed the number of STEM-trained indi- U.S. investment in science has now fallen to around 3 percent viduals to fill those positions. PCAST also found that the of GDP. Compared with the rest of the world, this figure is gap between supply and demand will vary by discipline. “middling,” said Gates. Even more concerning to PCAST is For example, there are some signs that the nation may be that the balance between high-risk/high-reward funding and overproducing people trained in the biological sciences and low-risk funding is suboptimal for the nation’s future. In underproducing in computer sciences. response to these science funding concerns, PCAST issued In its studies, PCAST found that retention and diversity a report in November 2012, Transformation and Opportu- problems in STEM undergraduate education are significant, nity: The Future of the U.S. Research Enterprise (PCAST said Gates. Fewer than 40 percent of students who enter 2012b), that laid out a set of metrics that funding agencies college intending to major in a STEM field complete a might begin to use as they think about how to fund research. STEM degree (PCAST 2012a). High-performing students Gates acknowledged that there are number of different frequently cite uninspiring introductory courses as a reason ways to examine U.S. performance in STEM relative to for changing majors. PCAST found that low-performing that of its global competitors. Some metrics suggest that the students with a high interest and aptitude in STEM face country is doing fine. However, one signal that the nation is difficulty in introductory courses resulting from insufficient underperforming emerges from evaluations of what PCAST math preparation and help. Many of the low-performing calls the STEM-capable workforce. The STEM-capable students cite an unwelcoming atmosphere from faculty workforce ranges from STEM professionals in STEM jobs, teaching STEM courses as their reason for switching majors. such as academic research, to STEM-trained professionals in Women and members of minority groups now constitute non-STEM jobs that require STEM skills, such as health care approximately 75 percent of college students, but only 45 or advanced manufacturing (PCAST 2012a). The latter type percent earn STEM degrees. Women and minorities are of jobs “are going unfilled today in the aftermath of the Great leaving STEM majors at higher rates than other groups of Recession, and it is the lack of Americans with the STEM students, said Gates, thus constituting an expanding pool of training to fill these jobs that concerns PCAST,” Gates said. untapped talent. The STEM skill set is growing in value in the United States, The question of how to diversify STEM pathways is a but employers are having difficulty finding people with the big one. The economy is entering a period in which people adequate expertise for these positions. will not have one career for 40 years but rather will need a PCAST’s 2012 Transformation and Opportunity report broad set of STEM skills that will allow them to adapt to focuses on how to make sure that the benefits of STEM new opportunities and even undergo retraining at some point education extend to the entire American economy to create in their working lives. Gates contended that this shift will the possibility that the American Dream will be extended require that the current pipeline model of STEM education to another generation, said Gates. The report is not about change to accommodate multiple on-ramps and off-ramps for how to “reproduce” academic researchers more efficiently. people to get into and out of STEM training. Concerning the issue of underperformance, Gates discussed To address these STEM education and workforce chal- trends in the attainment of college degrees. Among 25- to lenges, PCAST made four recommendations in the Engaged 64-year-olds, the United States ranked third, according to to Excel report. The first, which Gates predicted would 2008 data, behind Japan and Canada in terms of percentage be a challenge for today’s faculty members, is to catalyze of the population with college degrees. But, the United States widespread adoption of empirically validated teaching prac- dropped to ninth among 25- to 34-year-olds. “The current tices, that is, evidence-based learning. PCAST’s goal is that youngest generations of Americans in the workforce are successful programs should be expanded to reach 10 to 20 technically less well educated” than the generation preced- percent of the nation’s 230,000 STEM faculty over the next ing them, said Gates. “This is the first time in over 100 years 5 years, by providing training to existing faculty but also by this statement could be made.” These data are worrisome, he requiring that all graduate students and postdoctoral fellows added, because the nation’s economy has entered a period supported by federal training grants will receive instruc- when the wage premium associated with a college degree is tion in modern, evidence-based teaching methods. PCAST increasing rather dramatically. acknowledged in its report that making this transition has a Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, PCAST cost and recommended that the federal government provide found that between 2008 and 2018, STEM occupations will $10 million to $15 million a year for the next 5 years to fund

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DRIVERS AND METRICS 7 this effort. PCAST also called for the development of metrics system we have. You want to offer variegated choices to by which institutions can gauge their progress toward excel- people so individuals will make the choice they see as best lence in STEM education. for themselves.” Gates noted that the Obama Administration The second recommendation calls for undergraduate believes the way to address this issue is to upgrade the com- STEM programs to replace standard laboratory courses munity college system, an approach that PCAST supports. with discovery-based research courses. This recommenda- tion comes out of the premise that students who engage in ROLE OF THE ACS GUIDELINES FOR BACHELOR’S research early in college are more likely to persist in STEM DEGREE PROGRAMS majors. Gates pointed to the Freshman Research Initiative at the University of Texas1 as an example of a program Ann McCoy discussed the role of the CPT and the ACS demonstrating the value of early research opportunities Guidelines for Bachelor’s Degree Programs. ACS estab- for retaining students in STEM degree programs. PCAST lished the CPT in 1935 to assume responsibility for prop- noted that research universities and small colleges should erly accrediting institutions wishing to grant undergraduate form collaborations to provide all students with access to chemistry degrees. Today, the committee’s goals are to research opportunities. PCAST’s third recommendation says promote and assist in the development of high standards the nation should launch an experiment in postsecondary of excellence in all aspects of postsecondary education, mathematics education to address the math preparation gap. undertake studies important to the maintenance of these This recommendation came from the fact that college-level standards, and to collect and make available information skills in mathematics and computation are a gateway to other about trends and developments in modern chemical educa- STEM fields but that nearly 60 percent of students enter tion. In addition to establishing and administering the degree college without the math skills needed for STEM majors, accrediting program, the CPT devotes a significant amount something that Gates personally finds appalling. Address- of time conducting surveys to understand current trends in ing this gap will provide access to great opportunities to areas related to the professional education of chemists. The the 14 percent of 12th-grade students who express interest committee also compiles the ACS Directory of Graduate in STEM fields but do not currently have the math skills to Research and coordinates workshops and other activities pursue those interests. that bring together members of the chemistry education The final PCAST recommendation calls for the creation community. The CPT is currently in the process of revising of partnerships among all stakeholders to diversify pathways the bachelor’s degree guidelines. to STEM careers. It is critical to engage all of the end users The CPT sets the ACS Guidelines for Bachelor’s Degree of STEM-trained individuals. This call will require efforts Programs in chemistry. The CPT uses the guidelines as that must go beyond academia to be successful, said Gates. the basis for approving degree programs; currently, 669 In response to a question from Mark Cardillo of the programs are accredited under this process. The chairs of Dreyfus Foundation about the role that online courses can individual departments then certify students who meet the play, Gates said that PCAST looked specifically at massive approved program curricula. She said that the approved open online courses, also known as MOOCs, and supports programs benefit both the students who receive the certified leveraging information technology to improve the efficiency bachelor’s of science degrees and all other students taking of teaching. Technology, however, is not going to replace classes in those departments because of the supportive infra- teachers or professors, noted Gates. It can empower educa- structure that must exist to become an approved program. tors and radically change the environment in which they In fact, while the number of students receiving certified function. The key will be to figure out how to engage this bachelor’s degrees has risen slightly since 1950, the number technology in a way that leverages what individual teachers of overall chemistry degree graduates has more than tripled do to improve STEM education. during the past six decades. McCoy noted that although about David Harwell of the ACS asked if PCAST had consid- half of the students receiving certified degrees come from a ered how to fill the need for people with associate- or certi- small number of the institutions with the largest graduate fication-level training to fill jobs in fields such as chemical programs, the guidelines serve to provide a level of unifor- manufacturing and if there was any thought given to pushing mity in programs and standards of excellence that benefit all the 14 percent of students who have a high interest in STEM students, as well as the profession as a whole. careers but poor math skills toward programs that would fill The guidelines include requirements for institutional those needs. Gates replied that he personally is not in favor involvement, faculty and staff numbers and their contact with of pushing students in any direction. “I want the students to students, and infrastructure, but McCoy focused her talk on be active agents in making choices,” he said. “After all, that the curriculum requirements in the guidelines. The guide- is the great thing about democracy and the type of economic lines are not designed to constrain programs by mandating a set curriculum, but to provide opportunities to gain the 1 resources and infrastructure needed and guidance in terms See http://fri.cns.utexas.edu/.

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8 UNDERGRADUATE CHEMISTRY EDUCATION of what it means to educate professional chemists, explained as broad a swath of the community as possible.3 One area in McCoy. Opportunities for undergraduate research are an which the CPT received significant input concerned courses essential component of the curriculum guidelines, along with that are largely or exclusively offered online. A year ago, student skill development and departmental self-assessment more than 10 percent of the programs that responded to the in terms of which aspects of a curriculum are working and survey offered online general chemistry courses. Only a few which could use improvement. The overall philosophy of the percent also offered foundation and in-depth courses online. guidelines is not to be overly prescriptive in terms of specific Over half of the surveyed programs felt that online courses course requirements or laboratory experiences, but instead to were inappropriate, though about a quarter of the programs provide a scaffold on which programs develop a curriculum believed that the online venue could serve a role in providing that is appropriate for their students. introductory courses. A very small percentage of programs There are specific course requirements, but even those are thought online courses were appropriate for meeting degree fairly loose, said McCoy. Students need to take a founda- certification requirements. Fewer than 5 percent of programs tion course in each of the five traditional areas of chemistry offer online laboratory courses. While over half of the (organic, inorganic, biochemistry, analytical, and physi- responding departments said that virtual laboratories were cal), and four in-depth courses based on that foundational inappropriate, more than 40 percent thought virtual labora- experience. The guidelines do not detail the precise nature tories could serve a limited, supplementary role. In response of those in-depth courses. Students also need a minimum to the survey, the CPT has proposed requiring programs to of 400 laboratory hours after general chemistry, and those provide significant hands-on laboratory experiences prior to hours need to cover at least four of the five traditional areas. starting the foundational lab experience, explained McCoy. In addition, all nine of the required courses and the required Among the surveyed departments, there was near univer- labs must be offered annually, a requirement that can be sal agreement that undergraduate research is a great experi- challenging for smaller chemistry programs to meet but is ence for students. There was a strong consensus, McCoy deemed necessary to ensure that students can graduate in 4 iterated, that the guidelines should require an undergraduate years. McCoy noted that programs are encouraged to include research experience, but such a requirement would be dif- contemporary topics in chemistry and to employ a variety of ficult to implement, particularly by smaller programs. In approaches in delivering this curriculum. The 2008 revisions thinking about what students would gain from this experi- of the guidelines placed a stronger emphasis on professional ence, the CPT concluded that it was not conducting research skills such as problem solving, using the chemical literature, per se, but rather the opportunity to apply all of the skills and laboratory safety, oral and written communications, working ideas they have gained as students to a personalized learn- in teams, and ethics. ing experience. In the end, the CPT proposed introducing a The CPT is currently in the process of revising the guide- requirement for a “capstone experience.” Capstone experi- lines. McCoy expects the new guidelines to be adopted in ences—which could include research, a group problem-solv- 2014. The revision process began with a survey of approved ing class, an internship, or mentored teaching, among other programs on the impacts of the 2008 guidelines (results are possibilities—would provide students with opportunities to accessible through the CPT website).2 Overall, the survey synthesize the knowledge and skills they gained across the indicated that curricular changes based on the 2008 guide- curriculum. lines were modest, likely reflecting the short time period Another common issue raised by survey respondents is since the 2008 guidelines were introduced and the additional concern about removing the requirement for two semesters fiscal stresses felt by departments since 2008. Approxi- of both organic and physical chemistry. The CPT has made mately two-thirds of the programs had no trouble offering this compromise to introduce flexibility into the curriculum. an approved curriculum, but 25 percent of the programs McCoy explained that about 4 percent of the programs have reported occasional difficulties. In response to this finding, introduced a one-semester integrated organic chemistry the proposed revisions call for increasing the minimum fac- course and 1 percent reduced the physical chemistry require- ulty size from four to five individuals by 2025. McCoy noted ment to one semester for at least one degree track. Only 1 to 3 that the CPT had proposed this same change for inclusion percent of programs are considering making similar changes. in the 2008 guidelines, but backed off in response to com- The proposed changes would also alter the guidelines’ munity pushback. instrumentation requirements. Recognizing the importance In January 2013, the CPT issued a white paper on possible and expense of gaining experience with nuclear magnetic guideline revisions with the goal of soliciting comments from resonance (NMR) techniques, the revised guidelines would allow programs to use an offsite NMR facility to fulfill this requirement. The guidelines would also require student expo- 2 See http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/about/governance/committees/ 3 See http://www.acs.org/content/dam/acsorg/about/governance/ training.html. committees/training/guidelines-white-paper.pdf.

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DRIVERS AND METRICS 9 sure to at least one instrument in each grouping of optical focus for both pre-medical education and medical school cur- atomic spectroscopy, optical molecular spectroscopy, mass ricula on core competencies rather than on specific courses spectrometry, electrochemistry, and chromatography/separa- or disciplines. On the basis of the report’s findings, AAMC tions (McCoy and Darbeau 2013). is working to transform medical school admissions to keep McCoy said that she sees the guidelines and the revi- pace with the changes in science and medical education with sion process as a community activity. She encouraged the the ultimate goal of preparing a workforce that can better workshop attendees to provide her and her colleagues Clark care for Americans’ health, said Shulman. As part of that Landis and Joel Shulman, both presenters at the workshop, transformation, students wishing to apply to medical school with comments, or to send comments to the ACS via e-mail will begin taking a revamped MCAT starting in 2015. at cpt@acs.org. The MCAT2015 will consist of four sections and gener- In response to a question about requiring a capstone expe- ate four scores, one of which will be on the chemical and rience rather than an actual research experience, McCoy said physical foundations of biological systems, while another that the problem is not that faculty are not enthusiastic about will cover the biological and biochemical foundations of providing a research experience, but that doing a good job living systems. Questions in these sections will require stu- for every student seeking a certified degree would be chal- dents to have an understanding of the principles that govern lenging. She noted one program where students work with chemical interactions and how these reactions form the basis industry chemists who pose challenges for the students to for a broader understanding of the molecular dynamics of solve in teams. “That is almost as good, or maybe better, than living systems (Schwartzstein et al. 2013). They will test doing more traditional undergraduate research projects,” she introductory-level organic and inorganic concepts—bio- said. On the other hand, undergraduate research also provides chemistry concepts at the level taught in most first-semester important mentoring opportunities for graduate students biochemistry classes—and target basic research methods and and McCoy said that finding the right opportunities for each statistical concepts described by many baccalaureate faculty student will be key. “Requiring undergraduate research of as being important to success in introductory science courses all certified majors seems to be something the community is (AAMC 2011). Shulman explained that the approximate very concerned about,” she said. distribution of questions in the section on the chemistry and One attendee asked McCoy if she was surprised at the physical foundations of biological systems will be 30 percent strong negative response to online courses. She answered general chemistry, 25 percent organic chemistry, 15 percent that the negative view could reflect the conservative nature first-semester biochemistry, 25 percent introductory physics, of the chemistry community, or it may also reflect a misin- and 5 percent biology. He noted that this is not much different terpretation of the survey question. McCoy explained that the than the subject matter distribution of the current MCAT test survey question about online teaching did indicate the use with perhaps a little more biochemistry. of online instruction in combination with in-class teaching. The effect that the new MCAT will have on undergradu- She also added that she has seen some great opportunities ate chemistry courses that pre-med students are required to for doing shared online instruction between multiple smaller take is unclear. MCAT2015 will assess a set of eight scien- institutions. tific competencies (the combination of skills, abilities, and Responding to a question about how the courses offered knowledge needed to perform a specific task) as designed at 2-year institutions fit into the guidelines, McCoy said that by the AAMC (see Figure 2-1), explained Schulman. Two there is a separate set of guidelines for 2-year colleges that of these competencies (highlighted in Figure 2-1) are related were adopted shortly after the 2008 guidelines (ACS 2008) directly to chemistry or biochemistry. For example, Compe- were put into place. She also noted that there is a new 2-year tency E4 will require students to demonstrate knowledge of college advisory board and the CPT has representation on basic principles of chemistry and some applications of those that board. “It is an ongoing process but it is one I think we principles to the understanding of living systems. have made a lot of progress on in the last 3 or 4 years,” she What is the best way that chemistry departments ensure said. that pre-med students master these core competencies? Shulman suggested three possible approaches: (1) “apply the concepts of chemistry to biological principles in biology CHEMISTRY AND THE PRE-MEDICAL CURRICULUM: courses”; (2) “apply a biological context to chemical prin- IMPACT OF MCAT2015 ciples in chemistry courses”; or (3) do both 1 and 2. In his Joel Shulman of the University of Cincinnati and CPT opinion, it makes sense to do both. Shulman noted, however, member discussed potential impacts of MCAT changes on that general and organic chemistry should be making as many undergraduate chemistry. A report from the Association connections to biology as possible regardless of whether of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Howard these subjects are taught together or separately. Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Scientific Foundations for The new approach to testing medical school applicants Future Physicians (AAMC/HHMI 2009), advocates a new raises the question of whether the chemistry curriculum

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10 UNDERGRADUATE CHEMISTRY EDUCATION FIGURE 2-1  Competencies for entering medical students. SOURCE: Adapted from AAMS/HHMI (2009). should change in response to MCAT2015. Currently, most to form acetyl coenzyme A, or the formation of sulfates and pre-med students complete five semesters of chemistry—one phosphate bonds that are relevant to biological molecules. year each of general and organic chemistry and one semester Another approach to emphasize the biological aspects of of biochemistry. Shulman said that he sees no reason that a chemistry is to create two different second-semester organic school or program has to make a change in its curriculum chemistry classes, one focused on bioorganic chemistry for for pre-med students. However, there are opportunities and pre-med and other biology-oriented students, and the other challenges for the chemistry community that are laid out in course emphasizing mechanism and synthesis for chemistry Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians (AAMC/HHMI majors and chemical engineers. Shulman noted that Oberlin 2009), Schulman said. He argued that a major opportunity is College has been using this construct successfully for 20 for the chemistry community to recognize that most fresh- years, and though it requires the availability of teaching man and sophomore chemistry students, and not just pre-med resources to offer two different second-semester organic students, have a strong interest in biology-related curricula. chemistry courses, the ACS task force found that at least a Schulman reiterated throughout his talk that the chemistry few institutions are trying this approach. community should consider introducing more biological Purdue University, with HHMI funding, has been devel- examples into both general and organic chemistry, regardless oping what is being called the 1-2-1 approach, a 2-year of MCAT2015. curriculum for freshman and sophomore students. Each It should be possible, Shulman continued, to take advan- year consists of one semester of general chemistry, two tage of the flexibility in the ACS guidelines that McCoy semesters of organic chemistry, and one semester of bio- described to reorganize chemistry curricula to emphasize chemistry. In the 2-year curriculum, the general chemistry the biological aspects of chemistry. He described several courses have a strong acid–base emphasis with connections approaches that an ACS task force has identified for doing to biochemistry. The organic chemistry courses emphasize so. One approach would be to integrate biological examples reactions and mechanisms with biochemical analogies, while into the traditional curriculum, and Shulman gave several deemphasizing retrosynthesis and organometallic chemistry examples of this. Enzymatic catalysis can be discussed when (Shulman 2013). The 1-2-1 approach assumes that students teaching about other catalytic processes, including the role are adequately prepared before college so that one semester of proximity within active sites and nonbonding interactions; of freshman-level general chemistry is sufficient for success peptide bonds and protein conformations as part of the study in the subsequent organic chemistry courses. Juniata College of carboxylic acids and amide bonds rather than as separate in Pennsylvania has used the 1-2-1 curriculum for years, topics, usually at the end of the semester; and biologically with chemistry majors taking an additional year of organic relevant types of reactions, such as the Claisen condensation chemistry as juniors.

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DRIVERS AND METRICS 11 A fourth possibility is an “organic chemistry first” In closing, Schulman noted that there will be a series approach. Freshman start with what Shulman called a “bio- of commentaries in an upcoming issue of the Journal of logically flavored” organic chemistry course that introduces Chemical Education, including one by Charles Brenner that some general chemistry concepts intercalated with relevant will discuss the role of chemistry in the pre-med curriculum biology. The modified organic chemistry course is then (Brenner 2013). He said that the bottom line is that the chem- followed by either two semesters of mainstream chemistry istry community needs to see how the MCAT is constructed or one mainstream chemistry course and one biochemistry and how it treats the intersection of content and skills in course. The most radical approach, said Shulman, would chemistry. “We need to figure out what our metrics ought to replace the standard first 2 years of chemistry with a one- be so we know that any pedagogical changes made will be semester course on structure and properties and a three- meeting the needs not only of the pre-medical students but semester sequence on reactivity. The College of St. Benedict all students.” & St. John in Minnesota has developed this more extreme William Tolman, from the University of Minnesota, approach and is making a significant effort to link these questioned Shulman’s statement concerning the biological courses to the MCAT2015 core competency requirements. interests of most first- and second-year chemistry students. Shulman added that this curriculum is allowed by the ACS At his institution, students have been “flocking away” from guidelines but has not yet been reviewed by the CPT for a biologically oriented class to the one that is less biologi- approval. Schulman noted that the College of St. Benedict cally oriented. Shulman responded that he had no statistical & St. John approach “takes a lot of work and it takes a lot evidence, but that his conversations with organic chemistry of coordination.” faculty support this view. Commenting on the challenges of making curriculum David Harwell asked if it was also important to consider changes to meet the demands of the new MCAT, Shulman the competencies that the chemical industry needs, and not said that smaller schools may have difficulty accommodating just those of medical schools, when thinking about rede- the chemistry requirements for all majors. He added that any signing curricula. “Should chemical educators be looking at type of curricular change takes buy-in from the faculty, coor- more competencies as opposed to the courses we normally dination among departments, and the availability of appro- teach in preparation for graduate school?” he asked. Shul- priate texts. This last issue could be a particular problem, man supported this idea but noted that competency-based said Shulman. The CPT has discussed curriculum change education is a challenge without good metrics to measure with textbook publishers, but “they are not going to write competencies accurately. textbooks until they know there is a large enough audience, and in many cases there will not be a large enough audience LESSONS LEARNED AT NSF until there are textbooks,” he observed. Other challenges include coordination between 2-year and 4-year colleges There are two homes for undergraduate chemistry educa- to ensure that transfer students can transition smoothly into tion at NSF—the Division of Undergraduate Education in a new curriculum, and the potential impact on the need for the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, and the teaching-assistant support at large schools, particularly if a Chemistry Division of the Directorate for Mathematics and curriculum moves from a two-semester to a one-semester Physical Sciences—explained Susan Hixson, who noted that general chemistry sequence. her comments do not necessarily represent official views of Shulman pointed out that there are still many unanswered the NSF. She emphasized that there is “a boatload of exist- questions. He asked, “Will medical schools have the ability ing results on successful undergrad chemistry education and desire to adjust their admission requirements to do away interventions, including content and pedagogy.” She noted, with course requirements and reflect competencies almost too, that active learning strategies have been perfected for the completely?” Other questions are whether undergraduate chemistry community and that there continues to be a signifi- programs will be motivated to map courses onto pre-medical cant research effort to better understand student learning in competencies, and whether the new MCAT will success- the context of undergraduate chemistry education research. fully assess competencies with credibility and reliability. Much of this research is published in the Journal of Chemical Schulman highlighted a commentary by Charles Brenner Education,4 highlighted in the Chemistry Education Division and Dagmar Ringe (2012) that was published in ASMBM sessions at the semiannual ACS national meetings and also News that recommended going to a 1-year-of-chemistry and highlighted in the biannual Gordon Research Conference 1-year-of-biochemistry curriculum for pre-med students, Programs on chemistry education and chemistry teaching. with the 1-2-1 curriculum as an intermediate step toward There have also been dozens if not hundreds of reports this curriculum. Shulman rejected that idea, asserting, “I do from policy groups, professional organizations, and other not think you can possibly do students a service by going to that model.” 4 See http://pubs.acs.org/journal/jceda8.

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12 UNDERGRADUATE CHEMISTRY EDUCATION interested parties on STEM education, and the ACS will be Hixson said funding agencies or foundations will often publishing a book that tracks many major research efforts. support educational reform efforts by funding scholarships or In making some general observations, she noted that there internships directly to students. While the motive is laudable, are blurred conversations on education in terms of grade the benefits then travel with the student and often make little level, the type of undergraduate student, and the goals of or no impact on the infrastructure at the host institution. In transformation efforts. For example, it is important to know the same vein, programs that provide research opportunities whether the discussion is about “generating chemistry majors for undergraduates have the same problem, and also are often who will go to graduate school,” “bachelor- or two-year limited to the “best and brightest” upper-level students and college-level majors who are going to have industrial jobs,” thus have little impact on expanding the pool of chemistry or “producing K through 12 teachers,” she said. Hixson majors. There is also little information on whether research added that there are two factors that are unique to chemistry opportunities are effective at meeting their goals. In that when it comes to discussing drivers of reform for teaching regard, evaluating the effects of any reform effort is still undergraduate chemistry: (1) first- and second-year classes challenging, Hixson noted. Too often, assessment is done too are typically full because of the demands from majors other early in the life of a project or funding ends before evalua- than chemistry or chemical engineering, and (2) the chemical tion is complete. profession actually worries when chemistry undergraduates Hixson said that there were many missed opportunities in are not finding jobs. chemistry during her 20 years at NSF. One example, she said, Developing and implementing reforms takes a great deal is that while ACS has great national meetings, the Division of effort sustained across a long, complex process, said of Chemistry Education has such a large program that its ses- Hixson. Introducing active learning techniques, for example, sions almost always occur at a site separate from the rest of depends absolutely on having a committed, obsessive faculty the ACS meeting. As a result, there is less cross-fertilization member. “If there is going to be a major kind of change in among faculty than might have been expected. In addition, how a course is taught, you have to assume it will take a most ACS journals do not accept education papers, again lim- decade or more for that reform to hit a national level,” she iting cross-fertilization. New ACS presidents typically have explained. In that regard, the chemistry community was some focus on education, but they could be better informed fortunate to have the backing of NSF’s Chemistry Initiative on the subject, she said. Although the CPT is known for its 1994-1999 that not only introduced new ways of teaching emphasis on chemistry content for chemistry majors, it has undergraduate chemistry but also generated a huge cadre had little impact on the pedagogy for nonchemistry and non- of faculty who were familiar with undergraduate education science majors. Another problem she pointed to was the fact in chemistry and led to the development of a much larger that the ACS website only points to the society’s own work chemistry education research field, she added. in the field, in contrast to the American Physical Society’s One question that arises during any reform effort is why website, which points to major efforts throughout the field. a project does not persist at a developer’s institution. One The Gordon Research Conferences should be encouraged to reason, she said, is that it did not work. Another is that the include relevant education talks in their extensive offerings reform effort was led by a single faculty member who lost in chemistry. The Pittcon conference started doing this in the interest or left the institution. Changes in technology plat- 1990s for analytical chemistry, she said in closing. forms and institutional changes, such as budget constraints In response to a question from Matthew Tarr about incen- or even the appointment of a new department chair or dean, tives for faculty to participate in curriculum reform efforts, can also cut short the life of a reform effort. Hixson noted that this is the number one excuse she hears. The failure of a successful effort to travel from one institu- She responded that while it is absolutely true that tenure tion to another is because curriculum developers often forget decisions are based largely on research productivity, the to involve faculty from other institutions at the beginning of tenure period typically lasts a mere 6 years, leaving decades their projects. The result is a program that is idiosyncratic for a faculty member to work on education issues. Hixson to the faculty at the home institution, Hixson explained. added, however, that she does not believe that the field suf- Developers also underestimate the sustained effort it takes fers from a lack of successful interventions, but rather from to perfect and then disseminate a program. In addition to not implementing the many effective ones that already exist. creating materials and pedagogy, and testing and revising them, a developer needs to assemble a group of colleagues DISCUSSION who will speak at professional meetings and hold workshops for potential adapters, all of which requires funding, usually The first issue raised during the open discussion period from sources outside of an institution. Cross-departmental focused on how to link information learned in classrooms to projects are particularly challenging to develop and imple- real-world matters. James Anderson of Harvard University ment, Hixson explained, and require the sustained commit- noted that students come to Harvard as masters of the stan- ment at multiple institutional levels. dardized test and that it is a challenge to get them to start

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DRIVERS AND METRICS 13 to think about systemic, integrated issues that include the significant advances in chemistry. Peoples believes that it is human body but also include global energy concerns, cli- important to think carefully about curriculum content and mate change, and others. In that regard, Anderson cautioned teaching contexts, and so cautioned against cramming more against going too far toward accommodating changes in the information into the same courses. McCoy replied that CPT chemistry curricula to meet the needs of the MCAT. Shulman has been considering issues about content and context. CPT agreed and said that a general failure of chemistry curricula believes that it is important to design the ACS guidelines to is that they do not demonstrate much connection to any of be less prescriptive about content, and instead place greater these broader issues. Cardillo added that chemistry educa- emphasis on teaching methods that help students build an tion should not overlook the nonscience major. He argued understanding of how chemistry works and the language of that chemistry curricula have an opportunity to educate the different areas of chemistry. McCoy emphasized that it is general public through the nonscience major by emphasiz- important for chemistry students to be able to think more ing the connections between chemistry and broad topics that about broader topics and communicate across fields. “At the grab the attention of this larger audience, the citizens of the end of the day, less may be more,” said McCoy. nation. For science majors, Hixson said that while the goal Jody Wesemann, from the ACS Education Division, asked should not be to turn every student into a chemistry major, whether infrastructure development might be needed to the field needs to do a better job informing students about better prepare students to meet an uncertain future. McCoy the career options available for people with STEM degrees. answered that chemistry departments need to develop a Thomas Holme, from Iowa State University and director physical plant that has the flexibility to allow for all of the of ACS Exams Institute, pointed out that the 2013 fresh- different types of teaching modalities and teaching styles, man class will be the first cohort that has been subjected to such as online access to material outside of the confines nonstop standardized testing since fourth grade as a result of a lecture hall. She also stated that teaching laboratories of the No Child Left Behind law. He asked whether this is need to be more flexible to accommodate cross-disciplinary a concern. Killewald said that her understanding is that No learning. Garcia-Garibay added that chemistry community Child Left Behind has improved math performance and that is at a crossroad—it can either circle the wagons around its she would not anticipate a negative effect on the preparation traditional boundaries or the community can expand to take of entering students. ownership of newer fields that involve chemistry, including Robert Peoples, of the Carpet America Recovery Effort, biochemistry and materials science. Trevor Sears from Stony focused on the content of chemistry coursework in light Brook University commented that it is important to work of scientific advances. He noted that chemistry faculty with university administration to explain that the paradigm members have been teaching the same chemistry content for teaching science is changing and that classroom and using the same techniques for the last 100 years despite laboratory space needs must reflect that change.

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