GCEdNet

Green Chemistry Education Network

We are in the process of clarifying some of the current and emerging needs of the green chemistry education community.  Our goal is to collect information via this forum and then provide an executive summary for the community to use as we begin to identify collaborative projects and needed resources.  Let's begin the discussion by answering the following questions. 

  • How do you define yourself as a green chemistry educator?
  • What would you need to enable you to thrive in that role?
  • What challenges are limiting your ability or the community's ability to thrive?

Tags: Needs, education, thriving

Views: 28

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I define myself as a green chemistry educator because my teaching focuses on incorporating green chemistry into large enrollment, introductory chemistry courses targeted to science and non-science majors. I also provide tools (GEMs and Green Chemistry Map) and assistance for the green chemistry education community to facilitate the incorporation of green chemistry across the curriculum.

I need institutional support that enables me to commit time and resources towards projects that support the green chemistry education community. Many of the projects I envision require small amounts of funding. I need to identify funding sources that would facilitate these kinds of community-based projects.

One of my main challenges is how to identify and coordinate participants and resources for collaborative projects that provide significant benefit to the community.
Great thoughts Julie - I know youa re a bit of a capacity building guru - I would be interested in some sort of training or definition of what partnering and collaboration actually means. I thik to build community it is important for people to understand how to work together. Us teachers are so used to just doing our own thing! Got any resources for that? People often ask Beyond Benign to "partner" or "collaborate". I would love to be able to define in a succinct manner what that means to us!
1) I recently took on a project to assist the department of chemistry at UC Berkeley with the adoption of green chemistry laboratory experiments in their general chemistry course for non-majors. I am also working as part of the fledgling Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry (BCGC) to promote the development of an interdisciplinary graduate program in green chemistry. We are trying to bring together faculty and graduate students from the College of Chemistry, School of Public Health, College of Natural Resources, Haas School of Business, and the Goldman School of Public Policy, to form a productive environment for research and education in green chemistry.

2) I am looking for undergraduate lab curriculum, like those found on the GEMS database, to help develop our curriculum. I am also hoping to find people interested in collaborating on the development of interdisciplinary graduate curriculum. I would like to hear more about interdisciplinary education efforts in green chemistry.

3) One of my biggest challenges is getting faculty form traditionally isolated departments to collaborate openly withing the BCGC. I hope forums like this will provide persuasive examples, which I can then share with our faculty.
We are in the process of clarifying some of the current and emerging needs of the green chemistry education community. Our goal is to collect information via this forum and then provide an executive summary for the community to use as we begin to identify collaborative projects and needed resources. Let's begin the discussion by answering the following questions.

1) How do you define yourself as a green chemistry educator?

I am a high school chemistry teacher in Bend, OR. As I teach chemistry (based on state standards) I continually try to pepper the content with labs and discussions that steer the conversation toward environmental responsibility and health impacts. Some topics are more easily addressed than others, but green chemistry has become "lens" in which to look through as we learn about chemistry and the future of chemistry.

2) What would you need to enable you to thrive in that role?

Each teacher has their own style and has individual challenges. Practical lab experience and collaboration would be useful.

3) What challenges are limiting your ability or the community's ability to thrive?

I feel that I am thriving, but could always do more (what teacher doesn't believe they could do more). If there were a high school chemistry teacher workshop that could offer opportunities for collaboration, I might find new ideas from my colleagues.
I really like the idea of looking for funding to coordinate collaborative projects at the high school level. Do you have any ideas about the kinds of projects where high school teachers could collaborate?
Paul, you should think about coming to one of our summer workshops, you will collaborate your butt off! Let me know if you are interested.
I define myself as an educator to the educators. My goal is to bring the concepts of green chemistry to K-12 classrooms in a way that supports K-12 educators through providing them with material, moral and in-class support in order to make their jobs easier instead of more difficult. Often times in K-12 education teachers are told to do something or implement an intitiative but are not given the time, tools or training to be successful. I feel it is my job to find the financial rescources and create the pedagogical resources to help them in their green chemistry efforts.
WE NEED FUNDING! All the work we do has to be funded including merely our time to exist. Funding is difficult to come by in this economy and government grants are difficult to come by if you are not a University. We need true partnerships to increase funding and impact.
I was involved in green chemistry before I became an educator, so it is a natural part of who I am and how I do my job. My primary roles as an educator are to teach sophomore-level organic chemistry lecture and lab and to supervise undergraduate research. Green chemistry is central to the way I perform both roles. I also take part in activities to inform and encourage other educators and students (e.g., ACS student members) to adopt the principles of green chemistry.

Fortunately, my faculty colleagues have supported my efforts with respect to green chemistry and have emulated some themselves, so my immediate work environment provides conditions in which I can thrive. Time and money are, of course, always in too short a supply, with time being the more crucial resource of the two for me.

One challenge that has cropped up recently is the dilution of the meaning of the word "green" as a result of its overuse. Green jobs, green energy, green this, green that...it is now a buzzword. Trying to distinguish green chemistry from other "green" initiatives is becoming more difficult. The challenges I find as an educator deal with the snail's pace at which examples of green chemistry infiltrate textbooks and standardized exams.
1. How do you define yourself as a green chemistry educator?
a. Trained on –the –job: education and past job experience does NOT include green chemistry background
b. Arrived to the knowledge and interest by serendipity
c. Started with teaching a special topics teaching and work hard to be able to handle the material and deliver it in an attractive way
d. Worked toward curricular changes from special topics to permanent additions to curriculum, while continuing my education (attend meetings and conferences, participate in workshops; present my work) and extend the network of specialists and peers

2. What would you need to enable you to thrive in that role?
a. Support from colleagues and peers. It is my personal perception that for most of my colleagues it is extremely difficult to step out of the comfort zone and understand the need for change.
b. More working models for green chemistry incorporation in the undergraduate curriculum either as stand-alone courses or as integrated parts of the existing courses, as degree emphasis or certification
c. Active involvement in the GC Community and GC network; it is a personal choice of course, but there are only 24 hours in a day and the fulfillment of the basics faculty duties( teaching+ research+ service) shifts the pressure toward making acting in the role of a chemistry educators entirely on your own! (see 2a above: support and interest would be materialized in assign time for training and curricular development)

3. What challenges are limiting your ability or the community’s ability to thrive?
a. General acceptance and understanding is still lacking both in circles of chemists in academia or industry as well as in the community. My view of a possible SOLUTION: more active and vocal involvement from the GC community to spread the word
b. Scarcity of materials available. Note: the amount of materials available increased exponentially in the last 10 years; however many more of us should contribute and share our experience.
c. Firm support from ACS and GCI if the accreditation form ACS would require s minimal exposure to the GC concepts, principles and examples, the shadows of doubt still existing among faculty who do not wholly-hearted embrace the GC introduction in the curriculum.
d. Prohibitive prices for attending conferences (ACS $350; GC&E $500; BCCE $...; etc)
e. Lack of examples of successful and exciting community involvement. SOLUTION: the few that exists are shared with the GC community, however wide spread publicity is lacking; hence work toward make them more visible!

RSS

Share This

© 2014   Created by Julie Haack.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service