Chemistry education research (CER) investigates the processes of instruction and learning in chemistry as this field expects practitioners to understand and connect flawlessly three very different realms: macroscopic, microscopic and symbolic.
At NC State, our program focuses on the development and assessment of instructional materials to facilitate these connections and appropriate assessments to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of such resources. Our current efforts study visualization of chemical phenomena from different perspectives, including the promotion of representational competency, development of spatial-perceptual skills, and use of manipulatives and models to facilitate conceptual understanding and pedagogies to effectively build knowledge integration.
The design and development of resources for chemistry instruction requires a strong background in chemistry and a rigorous educational perspective. Therefore, students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. with us are expected to obtain a strong foundation in a traditional chemistry field as well as in educational methodologies. These learning goals are achieved via a wide range of coursework, immersion into educational research methods and participation and publication in CER-related conferences and journals.
We also offer complementary training for those students whose research interests are more in line with traditional fields in chemistry but are passionate about teaching. The department offers training through our Foundations in Teaching (FIT) program. The ultimate expectation is that these students would be able to contribute to the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL).