Overall, the theme-based approach to the instrumental analysis laboratory has been very successful from the viewpoint of the student, the instructor(s), and the chemistry department. Students are exposed to different techniques and problems, while honing the skills necessary for success in the chemical community today. Faculty members in other areas of chemistry have participated in the theme-based approach and have also found the experience to be valuable for students and an invigorating way to teach. In addition, students make use of the skills they learned in the theme-based modules long after they graduate from Butler. The comments below serve as examples from former students who have benefitted from the theme-based approach (as a reminder the theme-based approach at Butler has the course number CH424).
“CH424 teaches the student to examine his own weaknesses and deficits in knowledge, educate himself on how to address these to the point that they are no longer weaknesses, and then start using this knowledge to solve problems.” CS, medical resident
“Method development, independent/critical thinking, and troubleshooting skills are all transferable skills which are applicable to any job; and every company relies on their employees to create value through these means.” JG, industrial chemist
“The lab course required me to be more outspoken (something a shy person like myself steers away from!) which is definitely a skill and benefit that I used in my graduate school career as well as in my current lab job.” EL, MS chemist
“As a researcher today I have been able to complete projects very efficiently without lacking in significance, because I can now distinguish between what is feasible and important and what is not.” ES, graduate student