Shifting responsibilities: When chemistry replaces first-year writing

CHED 1530

Jerome E. Haky, hakyj@fau.edu1, Donna. M Chamely-Wiik, dchamely@fau.edu1, and Jeffrey R. Galin, jgalin@fau.edu2. (1) Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431, (2) Department of English, Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Road, PO Box 3091, Boca Raton, FL 33431
Faculty in the Departments of Chemistry and English at Florida Atlantic University have created a writing-intensive introductory chemistry course based on a writing across the curriculum (WAC) model. This 6-credit course combines the objectives and requirements of both the second semester college writing and general chemistry courses. It is designed to improve students' conceptual understanding of chemical principles, writing abilities, and student interest and retention. We have developed a case study writing assignment based on the Bhopal chemical disaster and five advanced laboratory assignments that employ critical thinking skills, structured writing and multiple revisions in accord with recommended scientific writing guidelines. We will present the course structure, sample assignments, grading rubrics, and student writing to highlight the advantages that such a course provides and demonstrate how it can be used as an exemplary model for implementing and evaluating such courses at other institutions and within other disciplines.