Chip Nataro, Lafayette College's blog
Let's face it, it's that time in the semester. The students are sick. They are handing in exams and papers and you just want to run them through an autoclave. Throw on top of that all kinds of other work. This week for me has included 3 sections of gen chem exams, reading through approximately 100 abstracts for our sessions at ACS this spring, and reading through about 100 submissions for various on campus funding opportunities for a committee I am on. So, the fact that I need to get a BITeS post together is not making things easier.
Every snake sheds its skin at some point and we here at VIPEr are no different. While we are thrilled about our latest NSF grant and excited to continue to grow this community, the leadership council also recognizes that the winds of change are blowing. By the end of this grant we hope to see some changes in the composition of the leadership council that will bring in people with great new ideas. We want to get a start on that process now by inviting members of the community to become more active in the day to day maintainance of the VIPEr website.
It's that time of year when there are lots of eager young faces looking at me in my general chemistry lecture. And with those faces comes a long list of names that I have to try and attach to those faces. Of my many faults, perhaps the worst is my ability to remember names. I am very bad at it, especially when I get more than one new name at a time. An additional complication is that I only see these students on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so the long layoff really hurts.
About 1 year ago I was invited to attend an editorial board meeting for Organometallics. It was incredibly interesting to be on that side of the discussion and I got a lot out of it. For me, the most significant was the hatching of an exciting new idea about teaching--a virtual issue with a VIPEr theme. I was very excited that the editor-in-chief of the journal, Paul Chirik, was supportive of this idea and I knew that I needed to make this happen quickly.
Going to a Gordon Research Conference, I expected I would come back and write a BITEs post about some of the great chemistry I saw and how I was inspired to do a million different experiments. While that is partly true, the conference proved to be extremely educational in a way I did not expect. It started early in the conference when a tenured faculty member at a research university told a story of how older male colleagues would whistle at her on days she was a bit more fancily dressed.
We're right in the midst of summer research season and around the chemistry department at Lafayette that can only mean one thing, video scavenger hunt time. As a department we try and do one fun event a week with the students. That can be things like a movie, mini-golf, bowling, etc. 14 years ago I came up with the idea of creating a photo scavenger hunt for the students and it was quite a hit. This morphed into a video scavenger hunt 11 years ago. From its humble beginnings it has grown quite significantly.
As usual, it was an exciting and exhausting ACS meeting. Our sessions were good. The poster session seemed to be pretty well attended, but I admit, it was hard to judge that based on the location of our posters. For the second straight year I had hotel issues; last year it was a power outage and this year an evacuation due to the fire alarm going off. We had an excellent social gathering at the Pin-Up thanks to Anne Bentley. I even got to sneak off to Oakland to see an Angels-A's game.
In January I wrote about the most adopted/favorited Lit. Discussion LOs and at that time I promised to make this a somewhat regular series on BITeS. Not wanting to disappoint my vast audience, I thought it was time for the second in the series, this time taking a look at the most adopted/favorited Problem Sets. Once again, there are some ties, so the numbering might look a little odd, but trust me, there will be 10. Just a reminder, this list comes from you, the loyal VIPEr users.
At a recent local section meeting I talked with some folks about VIPEr. And one of the complaints (and a very fair one) is the bewildering array of content to sort through. We are perfectly willing to admit, there is a lot of great content on the site that can be a bit intimidating to sort through. While our search engine has improved, it is far from perfect and can often lead to lots of results that you have to sort through. In thinking about ways we could try and help you navigate the content, I thought of using BITeS to help a little bit.