Chemistry Courses for Non-Majors

Teaching non-science majors to become science-literate and to understand that science is a way of knowing has always been a part of the mission for the Department of Chemistry. One such course that the department has offered over the years is CHE 104 – Chemicals, Drugs and Living Systems. Students take this course to fulfill their liberal studies program’s scientific inquiry (SI) learning domain requirement.

Dr. Lihua Jin, Chair of the Department, recently visited the class to see firsthand how the students of CHE 104 are doing in learning science as a way of knowing. The course is currently taught by Dr. Gwen Baumann. Dr. Baumann is a professional lecturer who joined the department in the fall of 2016. Having received her education at MIT (B.S.) and the Johns Hopkins University (Ph.D.), taught chemistry and other science subjects for two decades at various colleges and universities, Dr. Baumann brings to the class a wealth of knowledge and effective teaching strategies. The focus of the course is on the molecular structure and function of drugs and their use for common diseases and ailments.  Students are learning how to think critically about drugs in the world, including everyday common drugs.

When Dr. Jin visited the class on Wednesday, Feb. 22nd…

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Spring Quarter 2017 Classes

Students start enrolling in courses this week. Don’t forget to meet with your academic advisor to discuss your plans! We wanted to highlight some classes that will be offered in SQ2017 besides the regularly offered courses.

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Dr. Vadola is offering a class on Organometallic Chemistry (CHE326/327 lecture and lab). Organometallic chemistry is the intersection of organic and inorganic chemistry, and many of the modern synthetic methods for organic compounds involve organometallic catalysts. This course will provide an introduction to the fundamental structure and bonding of organometallic complexes, while offering an in depth study of the unique reaction mechanisms by which metals, particularly transition metals, react with organic molecules. Applications of these compounds and reactions to real-world industrial processes will also be presented to highlight the tremendous utility of this chemistry.

Dr. Maresh is teaching Drugs and Toxicology (CHE362). This course covers the chemical and biological analysis of the metabolism and distribution of drugs, toxins and chemicals in animals and humans, and the mechanism by which they cause therapeutic and toxic responses. Metabolism and toxicity as a basis for drug development, metabolic polymorphisms and biomarkers of exposure are also covered.

At the MS level, Dr. Grice is offering a special topics’ course in inorganic chemistry (CHE484). This course is a 2-credit seminar-style class that meets once a week. Students will learn about the roles that metals and inorganic compounds play in biology, from enzyme active sites to metal-based drugs and environmental toxins. Motivated undergraduate upperclassmen can also enroll with instructor permission and an exceptions form (talk to Dr. Grice and your academic adviser)

Dr. French is teaching a 4-credit MS course (CHE494) entitled Science Writing and Communication. This course is co-taught with Dr. Sarah Read from WRD.
The goal of this course is to prepare students to be effective writers and communicators in academic and industrial settings. The course is organized around learning how to write a scientific argument via modules that cover the nature of scientific fact, different genres of scientific writing (e.g., reports and proposals), writing collaboratively and presenting a scientific argument to a stakeholder audience. This class was highlighted recently in DePaul’s Newsline

Summertime Chi? More like Summertime CHE!

Summer classes are underway at DePaul’s Department of Chemistry. DePaul offers two types of summer classes – ten-week courses and five-week courses.  Here we take a look at how our department breaks down our summer course offerings:

SummerClasses (1)

Ten-week Summer Session:

In the full summer ten-week session, the final classes in the general chemistry and organic chemistry sequences are offered. The course numbers are CHE 134/135 for general chemistry and CHE 234/235 for organic chemistry.

The ten-week summer session follows the same pace as the equivalent courses during the year. Participation in these courses allows students who have just finished CHE 132/133 or CHE 232/233 to complete the general or organic chemistry sequences without taking a big break over the summer. It is also a good opportunity for students who struggled with CHE 134/135 or CHE 234/235 to try again right away.

Summer Session I and II:

The department also offers two back-to-back 5-week summer sessions, that provide an accelerated pace version of the general and organic chemistry sequences. These courses cover all the material that is covered in the full-year, three-course general and organic chemistry sequences at DePaul, and they do it in a third of the total time. Students in these courses should be prepared for an intense experience! This option allows students to accelerate graduation timelines by shifting a full year class sequence into the summer. The course numbers are CHE 136/137 and CHE 138/139 for the general chemistry sequence, and CHE 236/237 and CHE 238/239 for the organic chemistry sequence.

Students in these courses should be prepared for an intense experience. This option allows students to accelerate graduation timelines by shifting a full year class sequence into the summer. The course numbers are CHE 136/137 and CHE 138/139 for the general chemistry sequence, and CHE 236/237 and CHE 238/239 for the organic chemistry sequence.

Intro to Chemistry:

During the second 5-week summer session, we also offer introductory chemistry courses, CHE 128 and 129. These courses are designed to prepare students for success in CHE 130/131 in the fall. If you are planning to take general chemistry at DePaul, and your math and quantitative problem-solving skills could use a tune-up, consider joining us for CHE 128/129 this summer!

The second summer session begins July 18. The lecture part of the course, CHE 128, meets every day except Friday, from 9 to 11 AM. The lab part of the course, CHE 129, meets Tuesday and Thursday from 1 to 4 PM. Students are required to enroll in both CHE 128 and 129, they cannot be taken separately.

Potential Summer Course Offerings:

The department has also investigated offering the analytical chemistry sequence during the summer. The course numbers for these courses are CHE 202, 204, and 205. To date, there has not been sufficient student interest to offer these courses during the summer, but the department will continue to monitor demand for these courses and offer them during the summer if possible.



Science Writing and Communication Poster Session

In the spring quarter of 2016, Dr. Sarah Read (WRD) and Dr. Timothy French (CHE) taught a new course  CHE494 – Science Writing and Communication.  The course was developed to prepare students to be effective writers and communicators in academic and industrial settings.

At the end of the quarter, CHE494 students participated in a poster session, where they designed and presented posters adapted from published literature articles of their choosing. The objective of the poster session was to mimic the experience of attending and presenting a research poster at a conference.

The idea behind this course, which is a product of a Collaborative Instruction Fellow Stipend, is to teach students strategies to confidently tackle rhetorical problems within their domain of expertise, which is chemistry in this case. This is often difficult to accomplish in writing courses or science courses alone. By bringing together subject matter experts in both fields, this team-taught course combines both fields in an immersive classroom experience.

Here’s a look at the end-of-quarter poster session:

What: CHE494 Poster Session
When: Wednesday, June 1, 5-6 pm
Where: McGowan South, 3rd Floor



Ferrofluids from Inorganic Lab

In CHE321 (Inorganic Laboratory) SQ2016, our students performed a variety of experiments related to inorganic chemistry. One of the most visually stunning was the synthesis of ferrofluids. Ferrofluids are liquids that respond to magnetic fields. Students synthesized them from Fe(II) and Fe(III) chloride salts and ammonia, which results in magnetite nanoparticles. These nanoparticles were then suspended in a solution to make the ferrofluid. In the absence of a magnetic field, ferrofluid is a black viscous liquid, but it responds strongly to magnetic fields.

Below are two pictures from students, used with permission (top image: Pheobus Sun Cao – ferrofluid in a vial, bottom image: Marcellus Johnson – ferrofluid in a weigh boat). In both photos, you can see how the ferrofluid “spikes” in the presence of a magnet.

Phoebus FerrofluidMarcellus Ferrofluid

Spring Graduate Course: CHE494 – Science Writing and Communication

CHE 494

Dr. Timothy (Tim) French is an Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department, and is offering a new course for Graduate students in the spring. We asked him about the new course and why he developed it. Check out our conversation below!

Why did you decide to develop a curriculum for a writing intensive chemistry course?

Over the past few years, the faculty of our department have had many informal conversations on how to improve student writing in our laboratory courses. This led to a brainstorming session between WRD (Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse) and CSH (College of Science and Health) faculyt to discuss effective strategies in teaching writing. As a result of this discussion, I contacted Dr. Sarah Read in WRD, with whom I’ll be team-teaching this course, about creating a graduate course on science writing and communication. We applied for and were awarded a Collaborative Instruction Fellow Stipend by DePaul for the creation of this course. I am very interested in interdisciplinary efforts between chemistry and other fields. Hopefully, this will lead to further collaborations within DePaul, especially between CSH and LASS (Liberal Arts and Social Sciences).

Why are you most excited about teaching this course?

Part of the excitement, comes from the fact that this is not a “typical” science course. Journal articles are, in effect, persuasive pieces of writing. You are making scientific claims about a given system and are trying to convince others of your point using experimental data as evidence. The data doesn’t become “science” until it’s formulated in writing. In the course, we’ll be focusing on the meaning of scientific facts, the formation of scientific arguments, and writing for different audiences. We’re also planning on having a poster session at the end of the quarter for students to better hone their presentation skills.

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Fun with Blood Spatter

Blood Spatter Analysis and Crime Scene Detection

With direction from Dr. Clementz, following CHE 109 Forensic Chemistry lecture the students investigated experimentally during Halloween week, blood spatter analysis, using different heights, angles, and mathematical functions to determine the angle, speed, and direction of blood spatter. Using Forensic String methods, scaled models, and geometric dimensional analysis, students were able to locate critical areas of convergence to help determine the location and center of origin of where the crime occurred.

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Dr. Anthony G. Clementz
Forensic Chemistry CHE109
Thursday, October 29th, 2015
Autumn Quarter 2015