A New Venue for Younger Chemistry Education Scholars to Turn for Advice

By Kimberly Linenberger

With the beginning of a new year and a new semester the Younger Chemistry Education Scholars Task Force decided this was the best time to roll out the new blog. As Chair of the YCES Task Force, I was asked to make the inaugural post to welcome one and all to the site!

Traditionally, as I have been told, chemistry education scholars have been self-taught and few were trained in the discipline; however, times have changed. With a current count of 36 institutions across the U.S. that award a graduate degree in chemistry education, more and more chemists are graduating with specific training in chemistry education research. The issue still arises that from my experiences interacting with fellow graduate students there is not a large crop of CER students in all of these institutions to turn to for advice or “tricks of the trade,” resulting in “lone islands.” Members of the community have made great use of social media outlets available such as Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter to keep in touch and ask questions of one another, but we as a task force felt there needed to be a central location for this information thus sprung the impetus for this blog.

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This blog will serve as a resource for young chemistry education scholars looking for advice on how to get through the tedious task of transcribing data, where to look for postdoctoral appointments in CER, and tips on how to get through the first year of a faculty position. There are many blogs out there already that tackle these ideas, but none that are focused specifically for members of the CER community. There are just some things others don’t understand that members of the CER community can relate to, such as other graduate students questioning why you would ever want to be on RA, or faculty colleagues stopping by awestruck by what their students scored on an “easy” exam. This blog will eventually get at these topics. However, this blog is not just for those in the YCES community but also for faculty who were once graduate students, postdocs, or young faculty members. This may be a way to also open lines of communication and form new partnerships between the generations.

Topics addressed herein will come from the suggestions of the community and will be responded to by knowledgeable people in the field. Essentially this will be a “here’s how I got through it. Maybe it will work for you?” approach, with appropriate literature thrown in along the way (we are of course still academics). We envision this being an open forum for those in the community to visit and post comments. We will have guest bloggers for each topic with new posts bi-weekly. The guest blogger will be encouraged to interact with those people commenting to create open discussions.
My charge to you as readers of the blog is to think of those little things along your CER journey that you really wish you had known before and let us hear about them. This will give us an even better idea of what the community would like to see going forward. I look forward to seeing the upcoming discussions unfold and hopefully connecting some of the “lone islands” in the CER community! 

Kimberly Linenberger is a postdoctoral research associate with the American Chemical Society Examinations Institute. She earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry with an emphasis in Chemistry Education Research from Miami University under the direction of Dr. Stacey Lowery Bretz in December 2011. She will begin as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry Education at Kennesaw State University in August 2013. For more information on her research and publications please visit her website http://linenbkj.wix.com/kimlinenberger