In its ongoing efforts to expand the international perspective of students, National Chiao Tung University (NCTU) has invited a senior American professor to teach at the Department of Applied Chemistry
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In its ongoing efforts to expand the international perspective of students, National Chiao Tung University (NCTU) has invited a senior American professor to teach at the Department of Applied Chemistry
December 5, 2019

As part of the Distinguished Visiting Professorship Program established by NCTU in 2017, the Department of Applied Chemistry has appointed Professor Chris Craney of Occidental College to serve as a visiting professor of general chemistry. Professor Chi-Shen, Lee, chairman of Department of Applied Chemistry, said that in addition to expanding students’ international horizons, the course will also allow teachers to observe the teaching methods of foreign teachers.

Assistant professor of the Department of Applied Chemistry Li-Shing, Huang said that Prof. Craney is teaching only one course, allowing him to spend a lot of time interacting with students and to provide individualized guidance. Each week’s class includes a chemistry demonstration where the students practice their scientific skills. The class is also using the American Chemical Society assessment to compare the students’ knowledge before and after the course.

Prof. Craney earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry at Washington State University and is currently a professor at Occidental College. His work was recognized by 2017 Arts and Sciences City of Distinction Award from the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society.

The Academic Affairs Office of NCTU is promoting courses taught in English in order to strengthen basic science teaching. In 2017, the Office of Academic Affairs held the Basic Science Curriculum Program (BSCP), at which the heads of related departments initiated the DVP.

In its ongoing efforts to expand the international perspective of students, National Chiao Tung University (NCTU) has invited a senior American professor to teach at the Department of Applied Chemistry

The purpose of the DVP program is to create an international teaching atmosphere at NCTU by inviting distinguished professors from the United States and other English-speaking countries to teach basic sciences in English (including physics, mathematics, chemistry, and biology). The project is supported by NCTU Alumni Association, which is providing NT$1 million per semester.

The first visiting professor appointed by the DVP was Prof. Jan Tobochnik, winner of the 2017 Oersted Medal of the American Society of Physics Teachers, who teaches general physics at Kalamazoo College. His course was well received by physics teachers and students alike.

Craney was invited to teach in 2017, and it took two years to finalize his appointment. In 2018, Prof. Craney visited NCTU University, attended several conferences, gave teaching demonstrations, and gave a lecture.

In addition to interacting with students and expanding students’ international outlook, visiting professors also provide Taiwanese teachers with an opportunity to learn new teaching methods. Prof. Chi-Shen, Lee, chairman of the Department of Applied Chemistry, said that the teaching methods of Taiwanese professors mainly consist of lectures and writing on the blackboard. However, in recent years, students have not been motivated to learn, and teachers are at a loss as to how to remedy the situation. Still, he believes that there are still many teachers in Taiwan who have a lot of enthusiasm for education, and are keen on finding more suitable teaching methods. Therefore, NCTU has co-organized with the Taiwan Chemical Society and MOST Chemistry Promotion Center for the Teaching Revitalization Workshop, which will coincide with Prof. Craney’s course. The Workshop will allow Taiwanese teachers to learn new teaching methods by observing Prof. Craney, and at the same time share their ideas on innovative teaching. The workshop will be held on November 16th at the Department of Applied Chemistry, NCTU.