Development of Core Curriculum for General Education Chemistry Students

ABSTRACT Development of Core Curriculum for General Education Chemistry Students By Dianna Kim General Education Chemistry (GE Chemistry) course curricula often mimic that of the General Chemistry course intended for various STEM majors. However, this curriculum framework is problematic for both the purpose of GE Chemistry and the audience of non-science majors. While multiple studies have been conducted to change chemistry curricula, few have focused on GE Chemistry. The goal of this research is to set the groundwork for designing a GE Chemistry curriculum by conducting an in-depth investigation on non-science students’ opinion of chemistry, as a science and a course, and investigating the desired outcomes for both students and professors. A survey was conducted with undergraduate science and non-science majors to investigate chemistry topics of interest, concerns with taking a chemistry course, and factors in deciding their major. Another survey was conducted with chemistry professors to identify what they believe non-science majors should understand about chemistry. Students were most interested in learning about forensic science, food chemistry, and the biochemistry of the human body and brain. Students were most concerned about the difficulty of understanding chemistry concepts, the degree of memorization needed, and mathematics in chemistry courses. Professors indicated that non-science students should understand chemistry at a basic level and its applications to multiple disciplines and daily life. A GE Chemistry curriculum that better meets the student and professor goals for the course would emphasize the applications of chemistry to other disciplines (in particular, those highlighted above).