A recent major gift from the Dow Chemical Company Foundation was primarily used to completely renovate the College’s teaching labs, adding new equipment and modern instrumentation. according to Anne M. Baranger, Director of Undergraduate Chemistry and Adjunct Professor of Chemistry, $1 million was also earmarked for developing a new teaching curriculum with a focus on sustainability. Marge: not sure what this means
The result, which has been up and running since fall 2016, is a general chemistry lab curriculum that focuses on green chemistry. Rather than waiting to introduce green chemistry later in more advanced organic chemistry classes for example, the revamped lab introduces the concepts of green chemistry in general chemistry for nonchemistry majors (Chem 1AL). About 2,000 students a year take Chem 1AL. Chem 1AL is the only exposure many students have to chemistry.
As Baranger points out, the Berkeley team decided to use green chemistry as a framework because “students themselves care a lot about the environment.”
“The idea was that we would kind of impact all of these students and give them some things that they could bring with them as they moved on in their careers,” Baranger says. Even if they don’t become chemists or do anything with science, she hopes her students will still have “that kind of understanding and knowledge [of green chemistry] that could be really helpful as citizens.”
Read about the research here: chemistry.berkeley.edu/greeneducation