15 Jul 2019

What have I learned and where am I going from here?

Submitted by Catherine McCusker, East Tennessee State University
Cohort 1
Reflection Piece 1

            As a relatively new faculty member I’ve struggled with how to best evaluate and improve my teaching, only having my students’ course evaluations and my own instincts to gauge how successful my course was. After our first VIPEr fellows workshop I came away with data about my students’ motivation, anxiety, confidence, and a breakdown of their performance on the ACS exam by subject area.  Going forward I now feel armed with evidence on my students experience in the course and what topics my students understood well and which they struggled with.  As a VIPEr fellow one of my personal goals is to use this as an opportunity to re-evaluate the topics I cover in my course and the learning goals I have for my students. My university has a strong emphasis on health sciences, and a significant fraction of our chemistry majors aspire to attend medical or pharmacy school after graduation. Keeping this in mind I want to be sure my course covers all the important topics in inorganic chemistry, but also includes more general scientific skills such as critical thinking, reading and understanding primary literature, technical writing, and communicating complex ideas to a general audience. I won’t be teaching my course again until Fall 2020 so I have a whole year ahead of me to make changes to my course and the opportunity to learn from the experience of my fellow cohort members.


I bet there are a number of instructors who also have a significant number of health science students. I used to have more, but as med schools have started looking for more "well-rounded" students (hrumph...what's not well-rounded about a chemistry major from a liberal arts college?), our premeds are pursuing other majors more frequently.

The point I wanted to make, though, is that it would be great to have a Collection of LOs that have health science-related connections. Perhaps this is something you could put on your "LOs I want to write" list for when you're done being a VIPEr Fellow! We could start a Forum or Discord discussion about it and collect from others. What do you think?