25 No. 4
July - August 2003
a Core Organic Chemistry Curriculum for Latin American Universities
Committee on Chemistry Education (CCE) and the Organic and
Biomolecular Chemistry Division have jointly endorsed a project
with the following objectives:
propose general recommendations for up-to-date university
curricula in organic chemistry without interfering with
contribute to the public understanding of chemistry by introducing
fundamental concepts that demonstrate how organic chemistry
is important to most aspects of common life
facilitate communication, transferability of courses, and
exchange of students, as well as insertion of graduates
into transnational industries
proposes that this be a pilot project focused on Latin America.
The goal is not to unify curricula worldwide, but instead
to concentrate on a region where there is a demonstrable interest.
If successful, the project might be extended to other developing
countries and/or regions.
Task Group proposes to develop recommendations for curricula
in organic chemistry, including a set of required and recommended
topics to be covered at each educational level in a university.
One goal is to ensure that students reach an acceptable level
of knowledge by the end of their course of studies, without
undue gaps. There is no intention of imposing a uniform curriculum;
the aim is to define what new material should be introduced
and what can be deleted or reduced. A similar project was
recently undertaken in Europe, in which more than 200 universities
have been developing the European Chemistry Thematic Network
initial Task Group, which included members from Argentina,
Chile, Brazil, Mexico, and Europe, have exchanged information
and classified topics as essential, desirable, or non-essential.
Since the project began in the summer of 2002, the Task Group
has made good progress, in part because it has grown to include
new members. An informal meeting was first held in August
2002 in conjunction with the 16th IUPAC Conference on Physical
Organic Chemistry (ICPOC16), San Diego, California, USA. The
participation of other conference attendees resulted in very
stimulating discussions and suggestions and valuable input
from a number of organic chemists. The project was later presented
as a plenary lecture at the XXV Latin-American Congress of
Chemistry in September 2002, where it resulted in a full and
Task Group has now identified a number of key issues, including
the range of backgrounds of students entering the course,
the stimulation of interest, emphasis on social responsibility,
the introduction of material in a regional context, the provision
of courses for non-majors and students of the humanities,
transferability between courses, and the dissemination of
the final recommendations and conclusions. Future discussions
will include the identification of essential topics and the
number and type of courses. These issues will be explored
over the following months and reported on later.
For more information, contact the Task Group Chairman Norma
S. Nudelman at <[email protected]>.
last modified 1 July 2003.
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