CHEM 690, Applied Topics in the Chemistry Profession

Syllabus for the course 

Spring 2010

Instructor in Charge: Dr. P. Vansek; Office Faraday West 418

Credit Hours:          2 (semester 1 and 2, teaching assistants, others 1 hour)

                    1 (semester 3 and 4)

Meeting place: La T 201, but other location will be also used

15:00-16:50 Fridays (but other times/days may be scheduled)


Catalog description:

Issues regarding the chemistry profession, teaching methods in chemistry, research tools, information presentation, advanced research, and other subjects not normally considered as part of more traditional chemistry courses. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 semester hours. S/U grading. Prerequisite: Consent of department. Credits: 1-2


First year students holding teaching assistantships will register for two credit hours, those without will register for one. Second year students will register for one credit hour. Accordingly, there is additional program for the first year students. This includes for the incoming students taking the background exams, attendance at presentations of faculty who are seeking new graduate students and taking the Sate of Illinois Ethics Test. The first year students with teaching assistantships also attend introductory chemistry courses (CHEM210 or CHEM211), therefore the difference in 2 or 1 credit hours. Note that these activities do not always happen on the Fridays. For the CHEM210/211 attendance you will be given choice to pick the course that best suits your schedule.


TEXTBOOK: There is no textbook for the course. Materials, as needed, will be provided.



          The attendance is mandatory for all enrolled students. Note also that for the Safety Component of the course the rest of the student population, not enrolled in the course, will join you, as this training is mandatory for everybody. Everybody also takes the Ethics Test annually.


GRADING: The grading is on the S(satisfactory)/U(unsatisfactory) scale. There may be some graded quizzes. The major requirement for obtaining the satisfactory grade is participation in the entire scheduled program and finishing all assigned tasks.


Watch the bulletin board outside the mail room as more activities will be posted.

















Techniques for effective teaching

Prof. Ballantine


Curriculum of the study program

 Prof. Vanysek


Pointers for PowerPoint presentations

 Prof. Vanysek


Safety training

Mr. A. Small


Electronic Thesis and Dissertation

Diane Johns 


Who is who/resources of the department 

Mr. A. Small 


Friday before the spring break - probably not hihly popular time slot 

 no meeting


 Spring break



Library resources 

Meredith Ayers 


3rd semester reviews



Time off – to give opportunity to the interested students to attend an alternate colloquium scheduled at the same time. 



Radiation/laser safety

Dave Scharenberg 


Preparing manuscripts 

Prof. Gaillard 


Chemists in industry 

Dr. Tim Hagen 


Writing grant proposals  

Mr. M. Spires 



Pool of topics



Safety (firetraining)



Safety – other topics



Library Search – on line databases



Resources at the department – analytical services, machine shop, storeroom, glassblowing shop, secretaries



Writing proposals for grants, why is it important to graduate students



How to write thesis/dissertation and why does it matter to learn about it early on



How to give good presentations



How to write resumes, interview for a job, dress for success



How to pair food and wine. There is more than Chardonnay, Chablais and Cabernet.



How to use proper software to calculate, graphs and draw. Everybody knows Excel, right?



Who is who at the department: Research presentations to incoming students.



Ethics and plagiarism. How the ctrl-C/ctrl-V gets you in trouble.







Library – the physical collection







Where does the research money come from why is it that the solvent spigot in the storeroom is not free?






How to write proper e-mails. There is a space after a period, and “I” is a capital letter.






1. where do chemicals and supplies come from?  Learn to search Fisher, Aldrich, the web for commodities and get the best price.  Keep track of the items that you use so you don't run out.







2. work ethic, how to manage your time, learn to work at work (like studying for your classes while a reaction is running etc)



3. preparing manuscripts for publication, using instructions for authors and understanding that these vary from journal to journal, using Endnotes



4. keeping a good notebook and lab records, preparing for experiments



5. at the discussion about on-line literature searching, the students should be encouraged to search the current literature often so that they stay on top of the latest publications that are in their field.



6. patents???