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Vol. 35 No. 1
January-February 2013

Conference Call | Reports from recent conferences and symposia 
See also www.iupac.org/indexes/Conferences

Stimulating Reflection and Catalyzing Change in Chemistry Education

The 22nd International Conference on Chemical Education/11th European Conference on Research in Chemical Education (ICCE/ECRICE 2012) were jointly held at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” on 15–20 July 2012. The meeting, which attracted almost 600 participants from 71 countries with 80 attendees from North America, featured plenary and keynote lectures, more than 600 abstracts (of which 356 were oral presentations), computer and chemical demonstration workshops, and a social program that included a welcoming reception, an excursion to Hadrian’s Villa, a banquet dinner in Tivoli, and a Participants’ Night of singing and dancing. A discussion of the writings of Primo Levi was also scheduled. In addition, the IUPAC Distinguished Contribution to Chemistry Education Awards were presented to Peter Mahaffy (Canada) and Robert Bucat (Australia). The conference chair was Luigi Campanella (past president, Italian Chemical Society, University of Rome) who led the local organizing committee.

The five days of sessions had the following themes, respectively: Communicating Chemistry, Didactics of Third-Level Chemistry, ICT and Multimedia in Teaching Chemistry, Didactics of Second-Level Chemistry, Laboratory Work in Teaching Chemistry.

From left: Peter Mahaffy (King's University College, Canada), past chair of CCE; Mei-Hung Chiu (National Taiwan Normal University), chair of CCE; Ilka Parchmann (University of Kiel, Germany), chair of Division of Chemical Education, EuCheMS.

Plenary lectures were presented by Vincenzo Balzani (Italy), Harry Kroto (UK/USA), Brian Coppola (USA), Mansoor Niaz (Venezuela), Alexander Renkl (Germany), Norman Reid (UK), Bassam Shakhashiri (USA), and Avi Hofstein (Israel). Peter Mahaffy (Canada) and Ilka Parchmann (Germany) reflected on “Where Do We Go From Here?,” emphasizing the need to connect students to chemistry in the real world, create networks of change agents to break through the boundaries of the discipline, and view chemistry education beyond the national level toward the global.

Keynote lectures were delivered by Mei-Hung Chiu (Taiwan), Melanie Cooper (USA), Hans-Dieter Barke (Germany), Odilla Finlayson (Ireland), Maria Sheehan (Ireland), Silvija Markic (Germany), and Marcelo Conti (Italy).

Luigi Campanella
(University of Rome, Italy).

At the end of the meeting, a panel discussion of the plenary and keynote speakers examined the challenges for putting the results of chemistry education research into practice, understanding how students learn chemistry, and the directions for the renewal of chemistry education. This reporter made an oral presentation on peer-led team learning (PLTL) in the session on best pedagogical practices that was organized by Mickey Sarquis and Lynn Hogue, and chaired a session on college/university general chemistry education. Details about the meeting program and the papers are available at <www.iccecrice2012.org>.

Full papers from the conference will be published in the Italian Chemical Society journal Chimica nella Scuola. ICCE/ECRICE 2012 was organized by IUPAC-CCE and the Division of Chemical Education of the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences, under the High Patronage of the President of the Italian Republic. Among the co-sponsors were the American Chemical Society, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the City and Province of Rome, and Cengage Learning.

The conference was preceded by a five-week pre-conference virtual colloquium “To Sustain and Celebrate IYC 2011 Initiatives in Global Chemical Education” (hosted by the Committee on Computers in Chemical Education, a standing committee of the Division of Chemical Education of the ACS). Organized by Bob Belford, the colloquium featured 13 papers that were extensively and vigorously discussed <www.ccce.divched.org/spring2012confchem>.

IUPAC Committee on Chemistry Education (CCE)

Bassam Shakhashiri (University of Wisconsin-Madison, U.S.A.), ACS president, at left, and Liberato Cardellini (Polytechnic University of Marche, Italy), national representative from Italy to CCE and member of the ICCE/ECRICE 2012 Scientific Committee.

ICCE/ECRICE 2012 was also the occasion of the annual meeting of CCE, which consists of six titular members, eight IUPAC divisional representatives, and 23 national representatives. CCE approved the minutes of its last meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in August 2011 at the IUPAC General Assembly and Congress as presented by its Secretary, Jan Apotheker (Netherlands). It also received the April 2012 report of CCE Chair Mei-Hung Chiu (Taiwan) to the IUPAC Bureau, and heard reports from its subcommittees (Chemistry Education for Development, International Year of Chemistry) and the Project Group subcommittee. CCE also reviewed its activities (Flying Chemists Program, Global Stamp Project, Climate Change Visualization, Young Ambassadors of Chemistry), its relationship with other organizations, and its completed, current, considered, and future projects.

Judith Poë and Andrew Dicks from the University of Toronto, co-chairs of the 23rd ICCE, offered a preview of the meeting (“Developing Learning Communities in the Chemical Sciences”), which will be held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 13–18 July 2014 <www.icce2014.org>. Expressions of interest to host the 24th ICCE in 2016 were made by Ting-Kueh Soon, national representative to CCE from Malaysia, and Siegbert Schmid, University of Sydney, Australia.

The next meeting of CCE will be at the IUPAC Congress and General Assembly in Istanbul, Turkey (11–16 August 2013), at which time the formal bids for the 24th ICCE will be considered and the site chosen for the meeting in 2016.

Morton Z. Hoffman <hoffman@bu.edu> is professor emeritus at Boston University; U.S. National Representative to CCE and conference coordinator for CCE. Hoffman was a member of the International Advisory and Scientific Committees of ICCE/ECRICE 2012.


 

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