GSA Newsletter: Oct. 1, 2018
GSA Director named to UNC Provost Search Committee
The search for a new UNC Provost will begin shortly and GSA Director David Shimokawa will be a part of the search committee. The GSA is seeking input from UNC graduate students on what they would like to see from potential candidates. Send your input to firstname.lastname@example.org through your UNC email address by Oct. 2, 2018.
Congratulations to the following graduate students who were appointed to represent the GSA on Graduate Council for Fall 2018. Graduate Council is the policy-making body for graduate education at UNC.
Special Education, Ph.D.
Third year as Grad Council appointee
Sport & Exercise Science: Exercise Physiology, Ph.D.
First year as Grad Council appointee
John (Jack) O'Neill
Chemistry: Education Emphasis, M.S.
(First year as Grad Council appointee)
Congratulations to the following graduate students who were appointed to represent the GSA on various advisory boards. Feel free to contact these students with your input on the facilities their board advises.
Campus Recreation Center Advisory Board
Sport & Exercise Science: Exercise Physiology, M.S.
University Center Advisory Board
Sport & Exercise Science: Sport Administration, M.S.
All graduate students are invited to attend a session with executive search firm Witt/Kieffer regarding the leadership profile for the new UNC Provost.
GSA BBQ with UNC President
Thursday, Oct. 11
11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Veterans Services (Roudebush Cottage)
Financial Planning Seminar
Tuesday, Oct. 16
UC Spruce A
Take control of your financial future. Learn more about the basics of budgeting and the importance of managing credit and debt. This informative (no sales pitch) presentation is open to all UNC students, staff, and faculty. Bring your own lunch.
Check out this informative podcast by UNC Educational Psychology, Ph.D. student Ivan Wayne featuring guests from the Northern Colorado area: https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-more-you-noco
GSA Grant Cycle 2: now accepting applications
Grant Funding Page
If you will be attending a conference or starting a research project between Sept. 1 - Dec. 31, you may be eligible for GSA grant funding. The GSA offers graduate students the opportunity to compete for conference/research reimbursement funding four times per fiscal year. The current grant cycle application closes on Friday, Oct. 19, at 5 p.m. (MT). Questions about what can receive funding? Email email@example.com
GSA Town Hall: Denver (map)
Friday, Oct. 12
UNC Lowry Center, Room #229
All UNC graduate students are invited to attend the GSA Town Hall meeting with Graduate School Dean Linda Black, Ed.D., and Associate Dean Cindy Wesley, Ph.D. Get an update on the state of graduate education at UNC and address your concerns with the dean. Questions can be sent in advance to GSA Assistant Director of Graduate Student Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions received in advance will receive priority at the meeting. Light refreshments provided by the UNC Graduate Student Association.
GSA Assistant Director of Graduate Student Affairs
GSA Town Hall: Loveland (map)
Thursday, Oct. 18
UNC Loveland Center at Centerra, Monarch Classroom
All UNC graduate students are invited to attend the GSA Town Hall meeting with Graduate School Associate Dean Cindy Wesley, Ph.D. Get an update on the state of graduate education at UNC and address your concerns with Dr. Wesley. Questions can be sent in advance to GSA Assistant Director of Graduate Student Affairs, email@example.com. Questions received in advance will receive priority at the meeting. Light refreshments provided by the UNC Graduate Student Association.
GSA Assistant Director of Graduate Student Affairs
Principal Investigator: Sachin Nedungadi
Presentation Title: Organic Reaction Mechanisms Concept Inventory
Size of Presentation: Solo Presentation
Type of Presentation: Oral Presentation
UNC Graduate Student Contributor(s): N/A
UNC Faculty/Staff Contributor(s): N/A
UNC Undergraduate Student Contributor(s): N/A
Non-UNC Contributor(s): N/A
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Corina Brown
Total GSA Funding Requested: $1,200.00
The main purpose of this project is to design and develop a concept inventory (a criterion-referenced test designed to help determine whether a student has an accurate working knowledge of a specific set of concepts) for reaction mechanisms that will assist instructors in assessing their students’ understanding of key concepts required for developing proficiency in organic reaction mechanisms. Organic chemistry has a reputation for many students of being a gatekeeper course: difficult, complex and with some material that students may perceive as irrelevant (Grove, Cooper & Cox, 2012). An important topic in this course is mechanisms of reactions. For example, the use of “curved-arrow” notation to convey electron flow during mechanistic processes has had a great impact on the teaching and learning of organic chemistry (Grove, Cooper & Rush, 2012). The difficulties students face with understanding organic reaction mechanisms and the misconceptions they develop have been a source of interest in chemical education research, and a number of articles have been published in this area (Grove, Cooper & Cox, 2012, Grove, Cooper & Rush, 2012, Flynn & Ogilvie, 2015, Bhattacharyya & Bodner, 2005, Bhattacharyya, 2013).
Most of these studies have focused on redesigning the introductory organic chemistry curriculum (Flynn & Ogilvie, 2015); understanding how students use their organic chemistry knowledge to solve mechanistic problems (Bhattacharyya & Bodner, 2005, Bhattacharyya, 2013); the development of students’ understanding of reaction mechanisms (Grove, Cooper & Rush, 2012) and how a firm understanding of mechanisms helps students solve advanced problems in organic chemistry (Grove, Cooper & Cox, 2012). However, no work has been reported pertaining to the development of a concept inventory in organic reaction mechanisms to help teachers assess students’ understanding of this topic.
The research questions that guide this project are as follows: • What are the concepts important for the understanding of mechanisms of organic reactions? • What are the concepts that students have difficulty with when studying mechanisms of organic reactions? In this first phase of a multi-step study, Organic Chemistry instructors (N=10) were interviewed to elicit their opinions on important topics required for the development of the ability to write mechanisms of reactions. Additionally, the instructors were interviewed regarding their opinions and awareness of students’ strategies and difficulties with the concept. The instructors identified various important concepts and there was a strong correlation among their views. These results helped in the design of a national survey which was administered to Organic Chemistry instructors across the country to increase the generalizability of the results and to see if the same opinion was held among a wider population.
The data analysis for this phase of the study is in progress and it is hypothesized that there will be a strong correlation with the results from the qualitative phase. The results from this phase will be used to develop questions based on the important concepts identified by instructors. These questions will be used to develop a concept inventory which will be tested on students with the goal of addressing these misconceptions.
GSA Volunteer Positions Available:
Board of Trustees, GSA Attendee
- Nov. 16
- Jan. 25
- March 8
- June 14
The GSA is currently seeking representatives to attend and report on UNC Board of Trustees meetings. The Board of Trustees is the governing authority for the University of Northern Colorado.
Interested candidates should contact the Assistant Director of Graduate Community & Climate as soon as possible.