Carleton College:
Chemistry Department

Trish Ferrett's

Curriculum Reform Work

& Specialized Teaching Interests

I want students to learn chemistry, develop scientific and critical thinking skills, and understand how chemistry relates to the natural world and consequential society problems. To maximally engage a wide variety of students in learning, I use many activities in class including interactive lecture, discussion, small group work, worksheets, hands- and minds-on short experiments, and demonstrations. Traditional tests and a suite of other tools assess student understanding: oral presentations, papers, research proposals and reports, journalistic writing, short "writing-to-learn" exercises, and more. My students learn to apply quantitative models to the world and extract conceptual understanding and explanations from these models. And...we always have a lot of FUN!

Chemconnections College Chemistry Reform

I am part of the core leadership team for the ChemLinks project, one of NSF's Systemic Initiatives to change the first two years of college chemistry. The ChemLinks coalition, in close collaboration with the Modular Chemistry Consortium (MC2) at U.C. Berkeley has been funded by NSF since 1994 at nearly $6 million. We have written over a dozen modules driven by interesting modern questions so science is taught in a context which engages students in active learning by "doing as chemists do".

I have been a member and chair of the Learning and Teaching Group, as well as being a member of the Environmental subgroup, the Executive Committee, and the Publishing Committee. I am co-author (with Sharon Anthony) of a module titled "Why Does the Ozone Hole Form?" published by Wiley & Sons Inc. in Fall 1998. I have planned and led numerous meetings and workshops for the consortia and led
Project Kaleidoscope and ChemLinks/MC2 workshops to disseminate the modular approach and active pedagogies. I have been using modules (Ozone, Stars, Computer Chips, Fats, Global Warming) in my introductory chemistry courses (Chem 123 and 122) since 1998.

Wiley and Sons Inc. have published 12
modules (titles below) developed by our consortia. Publishing will soon be taken over by W.W. Norton. Modules come with extensive instructor guidebooks and a module teaching guide. Learn more at these links:

The MID (Multi-Initiative Dissemination) Project runs 1.5-day faculty workshops on teaching with modules. MID workshops also provide information and support for working with all the NSF Chemistry Systemic Reform initiatives (Peer-Led Team Learning, Molecular Science, and New Traditions).


Quantum Philosophy

I have always loved philosophy, so I sometimes teach with a Carleton Philosopher, Prof. Dave MacCallum, who specializes in Quantum Philosophy. We do a 2-3 day unit on the EPR paradox, quantum teleportation , and quantum computing (curriculum available upon request).


Physical Chemistry/Laser Lab

I teach in Advanced Lab I and II, with a focus on spectroscopy and project work in kinetics. I have worked with Will Hollingsworth (he's the real leader) to develop a 2-credit laser lab to go with Chem 354 that utilizes new equipment (YAG-pumped dye laser, monochromator, benchtop HeNe, etc...) to modernize physical chemistry experiments in our upper-level curriculum.

Interdisciplinary/Environmental Chemistry

I include interdisciplinary aspects of chemistry in all my courses, including the ozone hole, global warming, computer chips, solar cells and LED's, quantum teleportation, and more. I have an increasing interest in environmental studies, biophysical chemistry, and materials science/nanoscience.

In the future, I plan to teach a first-year seminar called "Is the atmosphere changing?", which will include case studies on the ozone hole, urban air pollution, and global warming.



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