From General to Organic Chemistry: Courses and Curricula to Enhance Student Retention

Editors : Tanya Gupta & Supaporn Kradtap Hartwell
Publication Date : November 11, 2019
ACS Symposium Series Vol. 1341
ISBN13 : 9780841237483
eISBN : 9780841237469

Category: Tag:


The United States needs trained workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) areas. A large percentage of students who enroll for STEM degree drop out or change their majors by second year of college. Student retention is a major problem in STEM fields. Underrepresented minorities and female students face several challenges in their path to completion of STEM degrees. Researchers attribute these challenges to the nature of undergraduate general and organic chemistry courses which are often referred to as gateway courses or barriers to STEM fields. The abstract nature of chemistry, classroom practices and curriculum, lack of proper training and professional development of faculty, student adaptation to college environment in general and several other factors make chemistry a challenging subject. This chapter delves on the problem of chemistry courses as gatekeepers of STEM fields and the issue of student retention in these courses. This chapter also introduces several contributions to this book on diverse strategies and approaches being applied in general and organic chemistry to ensure student retention and to achieve student success. Through a brief overview of each chapter, the authors highlight the importance of quality teaching in undergraduate chemistry courses. Chemistry experiences of students should be facilitators instead of being gatekeepers or barriers to student achievement for STEM careers.