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  • Professor Ginger Shulz
    10/17/17 - 9:45 AM to 11:00 AM

    Student Seminar Series: Professor Ginger V. Shultz

    Student Seminar Series

"Exploring the Nature of Graduate Student Instructors’ Knowledge for Teaching Chemistry"

Chemistry graduate students primarily teach undergraduate courses and often have more contact hours with students than do faculty. Many graduate students do not teach beyond the first year and new graduate students arrive with differing levels of teaching experience and expertise. For these reasons, we are interested in understanding the unique nature of graduate students knowledge for teaching and how it is developed. We investigated the development of graduate students knowledge for teaching several foundational organic chemistry topics including chromatography, solubility, concentration, acid-base chemistry, and spectroscopy using questionnaires that were designed to elicit both content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. Cognitive interviews were also performed with a subset of participants to uncover the origin of their knowledge. Data from the test instruments were transformed using the Rasch model and statistically analyzed. Our analysis showed that graduate students at all levels of experience performed well on content knowledge questions, but even experienced graduate students demonstrated low levels of pedagogical content knowledge. Importantly, experienced graduate students demonstrated a greater proficiency than novices, which suggests that teaching knowledge is developed over time, even in the absence of professional development opportunities.

Professor Shultz

Professor Ginger Shultz’ interest in education began when she was an undergraduate at the Evergreen State College, where the progressive curriculum shaped her early views on learning. She went on to earn a doctorate in polymer chemistry at the University of Oregon under the guidance of Professor David Tyler. After graduate school, she transitioned to education-focused research through a teaching post-doctorate in chemistry at the University of Michigan with Professor Brian Coppola. In 2013, she was named a University of Michigan Presidential Post-doctoral Fellow and began pursuing educational research full-time. Shultz joined the faculty in Department of Chemistry at Michigan in 2016, and her research group investigates student learning in problem-based organic chemistry laboratory courses, the development of graduate student instructors knowledge for teaching chemistry, and writing-based strategies for learning in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

  • Event Details

    Location: 331 Smith Hall
    Host: Joseph Buchman, Adeline Espinasse, and Meghan McGreal
    • Professor Ginger Shultz
    • Ginger Shultz
    • Department of Chemistry, College of Literature, Science & the Arts
    • University of Michigan
    • Ann Arbor

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