P779: Teaching non-science majors: Challenges and rewards

Author: Julie Smist, Springfield College, USA


Date: 8/6/14

Time: 9:35 AM9:55 AM

Room: MAN 102

Related Symposium: S62

At Springfield College the non-science majors taking a one-semester “survey of chemistry” course come from the “allied health” related fields: Applied Exercise Science, Athletic Training, Communication Disorders, Health Science, Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation and Disability Studies. Since this course also satisfies the college’s general education requirement for natural sciences, there are also a smattering of “other” majors, such as business, history, sociology and “undeclared.” It makes for quite a heterogeneous group of students with varying abilities and age groups. The students enroll in this required course with fear and anxiety as they think it will be hard, boring, and useless. It is a challenge is to overcome this negativity but the rewards are well worth it. I will share my experiences from teaching this course over 60 times and how I evolved as an educator while doing it. I will discuss how I structure the 75 minute classes, manage group work, foster critical thinking and get them to understand why chemistry is important to them.