Learning Outcomes

To gain an understanding of the field of chemistry

  • Learn the atomic/molecular nature of matter, and its interactions and reactivities
  • Appreciate the traditional sub-disciplines of chemistry
  • Understand how chemistry relates to other fields (inter/multi-disciplinary)

To develop skills in the scientific method in the context of chemistry

  • Learn to pose relevant questions and design experiments to answer them
  • Understand laboratory safety
  • Execute experiments, especially with modern instrumentation
  • Analyze and model data; judge the quality of data
  • Understand results in the context of theory
  • Understand ethical conduct of research

To develop skills in problem solving

  • Conceptual problem solving
  • Quantitative problem solving
  • Critical thinking about complex systems
  • Evidence based argumentation
  • Troubleshooting (equipment, software, experimental design

To develop effective communication skills

  • Use the literature (find, read and critically evaluate scientific work)
  • Write well (notebook, report, journal manuscript, research proposal)
  • Employ figures and other graphics effectively
  • Speak well (discussion, oral presentation of poster and seminar)

To develop as a scientist

  • Hone both independence and group work skills
  • Understand the processes of research (experiments->study->program, paper and grant submissions)
  • Foster creativity
  • Lifelong learning (textbook reading and interpretation, filtering, primary literature)

Chemistry and Biological Chemistry Writing Outcomes

Grinnell chemistry and biological chemistry majors demonstrate their abilities to

  1. Negotiate purpose, audience, context and conventions for different areas in the chemistry and biological chemistry literature.
  2. Utilize a variety of formats to address a range of audiences and purposes.
    • Laboratory Notebook
    • Oral presentation
    • Poster presentation
    • Paper in the form of a literature article
    • Proposal
  3. Produce writing that utilizes the main features of the chemistry genre such as tables, charts, graphs, chemical structures, spectra, equations and formulas.
  4. Evaluate and discuss the strength of the scientific evidence supporting the argument presented by the writer.
  5. Locate, evaluate (for credibility, sufficiency, timeliness, bias, etc.) and utilize effectively primary and secondary sources in the literature.
  6. Communication that integrates the experimental evidence with the interpretation of that evidence and its relationship to the chemical literature in a way that advances the scholarly conversation.
  7. Correctly employ chemistry and/or biological chemistry disciplinary citation practices and format.
  8. Work collaboratively to produce forms of communication.
  9. Give effective feedback; accept and act on the feedback of others to improve their own writing.
  10. Apply chemistry and biological chemistry disciplinary conventions to produce
    • a clear statement of the purpose (or claim) of a particular piece of writing,
    • unified paragraphs that are linked to and provide evidence for the central claim,
    • convincing evidence,
    • a conclusion that summarizes the argument but also offers a new understanding of the importance of the topic at hand,
    • clear, concise sentences that offer logical transitions from one thought to the next,
    • use of words and phrases appropriate to the audience, genre and purpose of the piece of writing
    • text that is free of spelling, punctuation or mechanical errors.