P186: From stepping stones to capstone: Skill development in the chemistry senior seminar
The Chemistry Department at Drew University has long offered a senior seminar. This required capstone course comprises a semester long, multi component, summative experience for senior chemistry majors. Prior to taking the capstone seminar, students have participated in mentored undergraduate research and taken a required research course in which they make several staged research presentations to the class and begin to write-up their independent work. Major components of the integrated capstone seminar include oral and written review and critical analysis of the core chemistry curriculum; a formal research talk open to the college community; reading, discussion, presentation and critique of primary and review literature in a contemporary area of chemistry; and an oral comprehensive examination. The latter embraces all core topics in chemistry from the five major sub disciplines and is based on the chemical literature in a topical area of chemistry. In addition to its evaluative role in the capstone seminar, the oral examination is used by the department for summative assessment. These components will be described and discussed.