In order to best prepare the next generation of our nation's scientists, the doctoral program in Chemistry at the University of Rochester is designed primarily to facilitate graduate students in developing critical thinking skills and provide guidance to problem-solving through hands-on experience in chemical research and teaching. This training is designed to lay the foundation for student's future professional careers, either as research scientists in industry and/or as teachers and researchers in academia. One of the goals of the Department is to ensure that our graduate students are provided with an outstanding teaching and research experience and acquire the skills needed to become successful professionals in their fields. To this end, we have developed an interactive course, the Graduate Seminar (CHM 583), that is designed for first-year graduate students.
The distinguishing feature of the first year Graduate Seminar is providing students with a variety of conceptual tools to help them be successful in integrating the various demands and many activities that comprise their graduate experience, e.g. studying, learning, teaching, mentoring, being mentored, choosing a research adviser, starting their research work, and critically reading the scientific literature. The seminar is intended for all first-year chemistry graduate students. The graduate seminar meets twice monthly.
Teaching represents a major responsibility of colleges and universities, and being a teaching assistant is one of the more important and profitable experiences that students undergo in their professional training. It is an opportunity to apply and refine their content knowledge and, more importantly, marks the evolution from being a student to becoming a professional. But teaching is also an acquired skill, which is facilitated by a deep understanding of intellectual development, pedagogy, and the research literature pertaining to education and learning. Learning about the process of learning connects the varied requirements and responsibilities of the doctoral program and helps students become better teachers, learners, and researchers.
Although graduate school is an intense and demanding experience, it is important that students not feel alone as they endeavor to complete their doctoral degree. The Graduate Seminar draws upon the accumulated knowledge and experience of advanced graduate students, postdoctoral students, learning specialists, and faculty to collaboratively establish a range of professional development activities that support, encourage, and nurture graduate students throughout their graduate experience.