Chemical Education Research Committee Report, Fall 2011

For several years, the Chemical Education Research Committee (CERC) has been working to develop a symposium involving peer review that would be implemented at a National ACS or BCCE meeting.  The purpose was to allow a more complete presentation of highly rated chemical education research projects. The first of these “Peer-Reviewed Chemical Education Research Symposium" sessions was held at the 241st National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, CA, this spring.  This inaugural session was organized by Diane Bunce, Samuel Pazicni, and Vickie Williamson.  Participants submitted 1,000-word abstracts describing their studies in September of 2010.  These abstracts were reviewed by three chemical education researchers. The authors of the accepted abstracts were asked to submit a formal abstract to this invited-only symposium. Of the 11 chemical education research papers that were submitted, five were invited to participate in the symposium, releasing the others to submit to other symposium at the meeting. Thirty-minute presentations at the symposium were followed by five minutes of discussion. This allowed time for the theoretical basis/rationale, research questions, methodology, analysis, and findings to be given in more depth than usual symposium. The symposium was well received and attended.  The CERC voted to hold a similar symposium at the 2012 BCCE.

The CERC was given a charge by the Chair of the Division of Chemical Education (DivCHED) in June 2010 to discuss, consider, and devise a way to increase the number of quality nominations for the ACS Award in Achievement in Research for the Teaching and Learning of Chemistry. Renee Cole from CERC will liaison with the ACS Canvassing Committee (Michael Abraham, Tom Greenbowe, and Michael Sanger) to work on increasing the number of nominations for this award. Please contact any of these persons if you have questions about the award or nomination process.

The CERC is also working on new ways to address concerns related to chemical education research, and input from members and friends of the committee is always welcomed.  The meetings, which in the past have usually occurred on Monday afternoons at the National ACS and BCCE meetings, are open to the entire chemical education community.  The CERC is an equal opportunity committee, and we are continually working to make it an open and welcoming environment for the sharing of ideas and opinions of all ACS members—from graduate students in chemical education to faculty who are new to chemical education research and would like some guidance to junior- and senior-level chemical education research faculty members. Our next meeting will be at the Fall ACS meeting in Denver, CO.

Those who would be willing to serve on the Chemical Education Research Committee should contact Vickie Williamson (  Please include one sentence to describe what you would hope the committee can accomplish and one sentence about what skills, ideas, and energy you would bring to the committee to accomplish the goals.  A list of those interested will be forwarded to the CPN committee for membership appointments beginning Jan 2012.  The CERC is looking for hard working individuals who want to promote chemical education research. Members of the CERC serve for a term of three years, with the terms of four members expiring each year. Perspectives from those who are experienced researchers and who are new to chemical education research are valued.

The members of the CER Committee for 2011 are:

Vickie M. Williamson (Chair), Texas A & M University
Gautam Bhattacharyya, Clemson University
Diane Bunce, Catholic University of America
Renee Cole, University of Central Missouri
Melanie Cooper, Clemson University
Nathaniel Grove, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Deborah Herrington, Grand Valley State University
Willie Hunter, Illinois State University
Greg Rushton, Kennesaw State University
Cianán Russell (Secretary), Georgia Institute of Technology
Jessica Vanden Plas, Northern Arizona University
Ningfeng Zhao, East Tennessee State University

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