A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

June 2, 2014

Dr. Torraca Selected to Attend National Science Foundation Workshop

Dr. Karen Torraca

Associate professor and chair for the department of chemistry at Houghton College, Dr. Karen Torraca, has been selected to attend the Chemistry Collaborations, Workshops and Communities of Scholars workshop (cCWCS) June 8, 2014.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is the sponsoring funder of the event and selects attendees through a competitive application process. Accepted participants receive workshop registration, housing and meals at no cost. 

Torraca was also awarded the Dorothy and Moses Passer Award from the Division of Chemical Education. This award will pay for the travel both to and from the cCWCS workshop.

According to the cCWCS, “The workshops are designed to provide a background and modern perspective on key areas of the chemical sciences (broadly defined) along with methods to introduce these topics into the undergraduate curriculum.” 

This year’s weeklong workshop will take place at the University of Minnesota and will focus on teaching guided inquiry organic chemistry laboratories.

The workshop materials and activities will address how incorporation of inquiry-driven experiments into the laboratory curriculum support and enhance effective learning for both undergraduate students and graduate student teacher assistants.  In contrast to traditional pre-lab lecturing to the students and verification experiments, the guided-inquiry approach and projects more closely emulate scientific methods and encourage collaboration and discussion of theories and results in an active learning environment.

The cCWCS program is the successor to the Center for Workshops in the Chemical Sciences (CWCS). CWCS was supported from 2000 to 2010 by a series of grants from the National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement program. Over a 10 year period, CWCS offered more than 100 hands-on, intensive and immersive five-day workshops for more than 1,800 participants. These workshops were designed for individuals engaged in undergraduate teaching. They incorporated lots of hands-on experiential learning and provided extensive sets of high quality, tested curriculum materials.

Marshall Green|