Bert Holmes, Laura Bowers, Jason Schmeltzer, Sally Wasileski (University of North Carolina – Asheville, USA)
Chemistry majors at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, the liberal arts institution of the UNC system, must complete four research courses and write a senior research thesis as part of graduation requirements. Several decades ago we realized that the traditional chemistry laboratory curriculum did not adequately prepare students to fully benefit from a mentor-guided research experience. Thus, the second-semester General Chemistry laboratory was redesigned, becoming a semester long, mini-research experience where students worked in research teams to address real-world research questions. The research topics need constraints that limit the range of investigations and the nature the instruments needed for analyses. There are also carefully defined outcomes (poster, research paper, and powerpoint presentation). Over 25 years of experiences with this type of research-based course will be summarized and future plans discussed.