Why Is a Green Chemistry Education Roadmap Needed?
The green chemistry educational community has grown steadily over the past 25 years—from a small pockets of individual adopters to supportive networks of practitioners to whole chemistry departments taking a stand by going greener.
Many undergraduate chemistry programs are realizing the importance of incorporating green chemistry concepts and practices in their classrooms and labs. Benefits include safer laboratories, cost savings from the reduced volume and toxicity of waste, and more students who are highly engaged and inspired.
What Are the Green Chemistry Education Needs?
Despite this progress, there are many unmet needs impeding faster and broader adoption of green chemistry into the curriculum, such as:
- Integration of green chemistry concepts in the existing curriculum
- The development and circulation of updated curricular materials
- Creating learning outcomes to guide curriculum
- Building the capacity of faculty to teach new concepts
- Facilitation of change through requirements and/or incentives
The Green Chemistry Institute Is Leading the Way
With this in mind, ACS GCI has stepped up to lead the effort to develop a roadmap for undergraduate green chemistry education. Housed within the world’s largest scientific society, ACS GCI has been convening a wide range of stakeholders:
- Members of ACS involved in chemistry education
- Nonprofit educational organizations
- Green chemistry thought leaders
- Faculty who have made steps to implement changes in their curriculum
- Industry leaders who seek a skilled, modern workforce
Some of Our Current Efforts
We have developed core competencies that outline three areas of knowledge chemistry student should understand from a green chemistry-infused curriculum. Newly revised, the Core Competencies reflects feedback from participants of a Roadmap Visioning Workshop as well as from other stakeholders.
Working with the ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement (CEI) and the ACS Committee on Professional Training (CPT), we helped draft a supplement to the ACS Guidelines for Bachelor’s Degree Programs. With clear examples and resources for integrating green chemistry into the foundational chemistry courses, this document has the potential to have a far reaching impact on integrating green chemistry into existing curriculum.
What is Next?
ACS GCI is seeking funding to flesh out the roadmap during 2017-2018. Efforts will be focused on better understanding and defining systems thinking in chemistry education, identifying next steps for developing a repository of green chemistry educational materials, and addressing gaps in green chemistry educational resources.
In order to make this a reality, we need volunteers to step up and help! If you are interested in getting involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.