Jerry P. Suits, Ph. D.

Picture of Jerry P. Suits, Ph. D.

  • Associate Professor
  • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • UNC Campus Box 98
  • Greeley, CO 80639
  • Office: (970)351-1169
  • Fax: (970)351-2533
  • E-mail:



Field of Specialization

Chemistry Education Research

Current Graduate Students

  • Praveen Vadapally (Ph.D., Chemical Education)
  • J. Mark Engesser (Ph.D., Chermical Education)
  • Randy Perlis (Ph.D., Chemical Education)

Picture of Jerry P. Suits, Ph. D.

Recent Graduates

  • Scott Beckley (Ph.D. Advisor) Chemical Education (Summer 2013)
  • James MacArthur (Ph.D. Co-Advisor) Chemical Education (Spring 2010)
  • Matt Fryer (M.S. Advisor) Chemical Education (Spring 2010)
  • Wendy Schatzberg (Ph.D. Advisor) Chemical Education (Fall 2009)
  • Jacqueline Hilsenbeck-Fajardo (Ph.D. Advisor) Chemical Education (Summer 2009)
  • Brooks Williamson (M.S. Advisor) Chemical Education (Fall 2008)
  • Roxanne Finney (Ph.D. Co-Advisor), Chemical Education (Fall 2008)
  • Sister Nicole Kunze (Ph.D. Advisor) Chemical Education (Summer 2006)
  • John Dunkle (M.S. Advisor) Chemistry Education (Fall 2005)
  • Suzanne Charnick (Ph.D. Co-Advisor) Chemical Education, (Summer 2004)
  • Dane Thibodeaux (M.S. Advisor) Environmental Science Education (Spring 2004)
  • John Sickmann (M.S. Advisor) Chemistry (Summer 2002)
  • Karen L. Hypolite (M.S. Advisor) Chemical Education (Spring 2002)
  • Alicia Courville (M.S. Advisor) Chemical Education (Fall 1998)


  • B.S.Educ. in Secondary Education, Major: Chemistry; Minor: Physics, New Mexico State University; Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • M.S. in Biochemistry,Major: Chemistry; Minor: Biology, Southwest Texas State University; San Marcos, Texas
  • Ph.D. in Science Education, Concentration in Chemistry, The University of Texas at Austin; Austin, Texas


CHEM 111, CHEM 112, SCED 694, CHEM 682


Dr. Suits' research focuses on the factors that affect how students learn chemistry. He has found that most students tend to be memorizers (a learning style) until they have acquired a certain amount of chemical knowledge (a critical mass) that allows them to become conceptualizers (i.e., they are able to form concepts out of facts and rules). Conversely, some learners continue to use only memorization skills that rely on algorithms rather than thinking strategies. All of these cognitive processes are probably interlaced with affective processes, that is, learners either appreciate the real world applications of chemistry or they avoid this integration. Currently, he is studying (a) how motivation and cognitive factors affect chemistry achievement, and (b) how interactive computer technology can stimulate active learning and developing thinking strategies that rely on visualization and other mental processes.


17. Beckley, S.A. & Suits, J.P. (2013). The role of adaptive and maladaptive self-regulated learning processes in explaining examination performances in general chemistry. Journal of Chemical Education, (submitted for publication).

16. Suits, J.P. & Sanger, M.J. (2013). Dynamic visualizations in chemistry courses. In J.P. Suits & M.J. Sanger (Eds.) Pedagogic roles of animations and simulations in chemistry courses (Chap. 1). ACS Symposium Series 1142, American Chemical Society: Washington, DC.

15. Suits, J.P. & Srisawasdi, N. (2013). Use of an interactive computer-simulated experiment to enhance students’ mental models of hydrogen bonding phenomena. In J.P. Suits & M.J. Sanger (Eds.) Pedagogic roles of animations and simulations in chemistry courses (Chap. 10). ACS Symposium Series 1142, American Chemical Society: Washington, DC.

14. Falvo, D.A., Urban, M.J., & Suits, J.P. (2011). Exploring the impact of and perceptions about interactive, self-explaining environments in molecular-level animations. C.E.P.S. Journal, 1(4), 45-61.

13. MacArthur, J., Jones, L.L. & Suits, J.P. (2011). Faculty viewpoints on teaching large-enrollment science courses with clickers. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 30(3), 251-270.

12. Falvo, D.A. & Suits, J.P. (2009). Gender and spatial ability and the use of specific labels and diagrammatic arrows in a micro-level chemistry animation. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 41(1), 83-102.

11. Srisawasdi, N., Kerdcharoen, T., & Suits, J. P. (2008). Turning scientific laboratory research into innovative instructional material for science education: Case studies from practical experience. The International Journal of Learning, 15(5), 201-210.

10. Supasorn, S., Suits, J. P., Jones, L. L., & Vibuljun, S. (2008). Impact of a pre-laboratory computer simulation of organic extraction on comprehension and attitudes of undergraduates. Chemical Education Research & Practice, 9, 169-181.

9. Wasacz, J., Fajardo, J. L., & Suits, J.P. (2006, June). Online collaborative learning in a science laboratory course:  Student-generated inferences and misconceptions. Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications, 1336-1343.

8. Suits, J. P., Kunze, N., & Diack, M. (2005). Use of microcomputer-based laboratory experiments to integrate multiple representations of scientific phenomena. Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications, 1924-1931.

7. Suits, J.P. (2004). Assessing investigative skill development in inquiry-based and traditional college science laboratory courses. School Science and Mathematics, 104(6), 248-257.

6. Suits, J. P. & Hypolite, K. L. (2004). Use of spectroscopic representations in student-generated atomic models. Spectroscopy Letters, 37(3), 245-262.

5. Suits, J.P. (2003). Aesthetic constructivism: Development of expertise in science classrooms. National Forum of Applied Educational Research Journal, 17(1), 46-53.

4. Suits, J. P., & Diack, M. (2002). Instructional design of scientific simulations and modeling software to support student construction of perceptual to conceptual bridges. Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications, 3, 1904-1909.

3. Suits, J. P. (2001). Pioneering pedagogic publications:  Algorithms, student understanding, and chemical knowledge. Journal of Chemical Education, 78(8), 1015-1016.

2. Suits, J. P. (2001). The design of instructional technology to help students connect phenomena to scientific principles. Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, Proceedings 2001, 2547-2548.

1.Suits, J.P. (2000). Conceptual change and chemistry achievement: A two-dimensional model. Peer-reviewed paper presented at the 81st Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans; 39 pages (ERIC Document # ED 441-704).

Grants and Awards

Suits, J.P., Principal Investigator, “POGIL High School Chemistry Research Project”; Hach Scientific Foundation; $157,284; May 2008 to June 2010.

Suits, J.P., co-PI, “NUE: Developing Undergraduate Nanoscale Experiences for the Sciences (Project DUNES); National Science Foundation, Nanotechnology Undergraduate Education (NUE); (NSF Award # 0532516); K. A. Pacheco, PI; $199,565; Sep 2005 to Dec 2008.

Suits, J.P., co-Director at UNC, "Development of Research-based Principles for the Effective Design and Use of Molecular-level Animations"; National Science Foundation, Research on Learning and Education (ROLE), (NSF Award # 0440103); L. L. Jones, PI; May/June 2004; $1,089,484; Jan 2005 to Dec 2008.

J. P. Suits, PI, Center for Innovative Learning Technologies, CILT Seed Grant, "Assessment of Problem-Solving Competence Via Student-Constructed Visual Representations of Scientific Phenomena" $9,419.

J. P. Suits, co-PI & Project Director (McNeese, $ 83,807), NSF-CCLI-A&I Grant, "Collaborative Chemistry Laboratory Model (CCLM): Integrating Microcomputer-Based-Laboratory with Interactive Multimedia Computer Simulations," M. Diack, PI & Project Director (Southern University-Baton Rouge, $87,180); NSF Proposal # 01-27583; Fully funded, 2002 to 2005.

Suits, J.P., Principal Investigator, "Building Bridges to Help Students Connect Phenomena to Chemical Principles" Technology Advancement Student Committee TASC) internal grant for $30,500, Spring 2001.

Suits, J.P., Principal Investigator, "Water Quality: A Collaborative Learning Project," Shearman Research Fellowship, Internal Grant for $1750, 2000-2001.

Suits, J.P., Endowed Professor, Franklin L. & Laura Chavanne Miller Professorship in Science, McNeese Foundation, "The Use of Computer Technology to Promote Thinking Skills in General Chemistry," Endowment for $15,000, 1997 -2000.

Suits, J.P., Principal Investigator, "Diagnostic Testing and Student Retention in Chemistry Courses," Gaming Revenue Grant, Internal Grant for $4128, 1998.

Suits, J.P., Principal Investigator, "Scientific Reasoning Skills and Chemistry Laboratory Achievement," Shearman Research Fellowship, Internal Grant for $1463, 1996 -97.

Suits, J.P., Principal Investigator, "Technology: Catalyst for Enhancement of Visualization ; in Chemistry," Louisiana Education Quality Support Fund (LEQSF), Enhancement Program 2,000; 1996 -1997.