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ERIC Number: EJ1087045
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1756-1108
Faculty Beliefs about the Purposes for Teaching Undergraduate Physical Chemistry Courses
Mack, Michael R.; Towns, Marcy H.
Chemistry Education Research and Practice, v17 n1 p80-99 Jan 2016
We report the results of a phenomenographic analysis of faculty beliefs about the purposes for teaching upper-division physical chemistry courses in the undergraduate curriculum. A purposeful sampling strategy was used to recruit a diverse group of faculty for interviews. Collectively, the participating faculty regularly teach or have taught physical chemistry courses in 16 different chemistry departments in the United States. While faculty agreed that the goal of teaching physical chemistry was to help students develop robust conceptual knowledge of the subject matter within thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, spectroscopy, chemical kinetics, and other major topics, some articulated strong beliefs about epistemic and social learning goals. An understanding of the relations between different ways of thinking about teaching upper-division physical chemistry courses offers practitioners with alternative perspectives that may help them expand their awareness of the purposes for teaching physical chemistry in the undergraduate curriculum. Furthermore, knowledge of faculty beliefs about their teaching provides educational researchers and curriculum developers with an understanding about the potential opportunities or barriers for helping faculty align their beliefs and goals for teaching with research-based instructional strategies. We discuss our findings with the intention to expand faculty awareness of the discourse on physical chemistry education to include various perspectives of the purpose for teaching upper-division physical chemistry courses.
Royal Society of Chemistry. Thomas Graham House, Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge, CB4 0WF, UK. Tel: +44-1223 420066; Fax: +44-1223 423623; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A