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Initially published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 12, 2005, volume 51, issue number 49, p.B5

© 2005 The Chronicle of Higher Education


As a chemistry professor at a liberal-arts college, the author believes it is his job to find the youthful awe in his students and draw it out so that they will be intrigued once again by science and nature, so that they want to learn about equilibria, pH, and redox reactions. He has to go fishing inside their brains, to find, hook, and reel in their scientific spirit. Most of the students he teaches have not yet deeply suppressed their inner science geek. He can hook almost all of them if he uses the lures available to professors everywhere: enthusiasm, a smorgasbord of teaching techniques, demonstrations, and real-life examples. Every year, he sees students from underrepresented groups or students with great potential who do not seem to hunger for science. To reach the scientist within those students, he resorts to extra-super-duper bait: undergraduate research. This article presents undergraduate research programs as a way of fomenting students' interest for science in liberal-arts colleges. Steps for managing research programs and recruiting and retaining students are outlined.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.