March 16, 2010
PJ Alaimo, left, and Joe Langenhan, both assistant professors of chemistry, co-authored "Eliminating Lab Reports: A Rhetorical Approach for Teaching the Scientific Paper in Sophomore Organic Chemistry” for the Writing Across the Curriculum Journal.
Alaimo and Langenhan identified problems in the senior synthesis papers of recent chemistry and biochemistry graduates, and they redesigned the writing portion of the chemistry curriculum accordingly.
In collaboration with John Bean (professor of English) and Larry Nichols (director of the SU Writing Center), they used existing theoretical frameworks from the English and Rhetoric literature, co-opted best practices in teaching writing and reverse-engineered a new program to teach organic chemistry students how to write like professional chemists. The article describes the processes they used, the resulting writing program and the ways the program leads to professional formation of our students.
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