Chemistry Education Seminar – Prof. Jordan Harshman (Auburn University)

1315 Seminar Hall
@ 3:30 pm


Title: An Evidence-Based Discussion About the Design of Chemistry Doctoral Education


The Harshman Research Group is focused on several key areas of research including effective graduate education in chemistry, robust statistics in chemistry education research, and instructional practices of STEM faculty. We have many projects ongoing that seek to better the landscape of chemistry education and contribute to the goal of discipline-based education research by conducting highly robust educational research. We are constantly trying to grow in the areas of qualitative and quantitative research. We are also passionate about R, a statistical coding language that many of the group’s members find extremely helpful along the way. Learn more at


Hundreds of articles, commentaries, national reports, and studies have raised critical concerns about the state of chemistry (and STEM) doctoral education. The primary concerns are that the current system is outdated, does not adequately prepare students for careers, prioritizes depth of knowledge at the expense of breadth, has led to a mental health crisis among students, and many others. Yet, despite decades of calls to action, programs have remained, for the most part, unchanged as supporters of the programs point to continued job placement and ever-increasing enrollment as signs that programs are serving their students well. In presentation side of the talk, evidence will be presented from studies that a) reveal the theoretical design of doctoral programs, b) identify the skills that students will need in their future chemistry careers, c) characterize graduate student’s perspectives about elements of the doctoral program and affective qualities towards their primary advisors, and d) the most common innovations recommended in literature for reform in doctoral programs. Throughout the presentation, prompts for reflection will be given for faculty and students to reconsider commonly-accepted elements of doctoral programs.

Keywords: Chemistry Graduate Education, Chemistry Education Research, Mentoring, Statistical Modeling

Host: Prof. Ryan Stowe