If you are an avid reader of BITeS you read the posts by Shirley Lin and Kari Young earlier this summer. If you haven’t, I encourage you to do so. Those posts are about members of the VIPEr community spreading the message of VIPEr. Community is going to be a very important theme in the BITeS posts this fall.
Welcome to another semester, and another
For the first time in quite a few years I will be teaching general chemistry in two 75 minute meetings (Tuesday and Thursday) as opposed to the 'normal' three 50 minute meetings (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). From what I remember, I don’t like the Tuesday-Thursday classes. They are long and it is difficult to keep my attention that long let alone the students. Another negative is that it also means that I have to switch from my normal 4 exams + a final to 3 exams + a final. Wait a second, that means less grading for me…perhaps that is a positive and not a negative.
With a mix of emotions, 21 participants, 7 leaders, and one indispensable snack fairy parted ways on Friday at the conclusion of VIPEr’s “Hetero-genius Catalysis at the Frontiers of Inorganic Chemistry” workshop at the University of Washington in Seattle.
We are in the midst of our 3rd NSF sponsored workshop on teaching inorganic chemistry, using the ionicviper website, and developing community. Seven members of the leadership council (Anne Bentley, Adam Johnson, Chip Nataro, Jeff Raker, Joanne Stewart, Lori Watson, and Nancy Williams) have been working hard for 8-9 months to put the workshop together. Yesterday we were joined by 22 participants from 3 of the 4 US time zones for a wonderful buffet dinner at Ivar's Salmon house and an introduction to "Understanding by Design" by Joanne Stewart.
On June 10-12, 2015, a group of chemists from the Associated Colleges of the South (the “other” ACS) got together at Rollins College for a workshop focused on introducing VIPEr to a new group and developing new lab experiments.
Greetings from Ithaca, NY, site of the ACS Northeast Regional Meeting (motto: The Finger Lakes Region Goes Green!). The hosts at Ithaca College did a fantastic job of organizing 2 days of outstanding presentations on inorganic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, green polymers and more. The event was kicked off by a huge poster session featuring many undergraduate researchers and a plenary lecture by material scientist/chemical engineer Esther Takeuchi.
Watching (and snickering at) Bill Tolman's parody video for Lab safety inspired me to think more about how I present safety to my students (in both teaching labs and research labs). I'm going to retread a few ideas that Anne Bentley wrote about in this blog, but we could probably all use to think about safety more).
Two weeks from the time I am writing this, I will be somewhere between Philadelphia and Seattle. I will be attending my first week-long workshop, and I am excited and nervous. When I joined the Leadership Council in 2011, I had no idea of where it would take me. Toronto, Quebec City, Portland (Oregon) and now Seattle... Not exactly the most exotic locations, but then again, I am not really a fan of travel. But I have never been been to Washington before, so I am excited.