PortfolioGiven a personal interest in the natural sciences and pedagogy, I have always tried to relate these areas to my professional work. In the new curriculum I have revised the introductory lab course in inorganic and analytical chemistry, one of my teaching responsibilities since the 1998/1999 winter semester. The material to be covered in an introductory lab course is, of course, fixed: the basic chemical concepts of aqueous solutions. Yet pedagogical methods that are adapted to real working conditions (limited background knowledge and varying degrees of interest within the student body, the presence or absence of independent work skills, the influence of modern media in the information age) do allow sufficient room to convey absolutely essential basic knowledge within a limited time range.
Therefore, we have linked the lectures with the laboratory course, although a seminar is also offered. Based on the progressive curriculum used in the secondary school system, chemical concepts are taught on an elementary level during the first lab course. These concepts are then reviewed and broadened during the second lab course. For example, experiments on chemical equilibrium are carried out in the first course, followed by a focus on coupled equilibria in the seminar and the second lab course.
In conjunction with this scheme, the University of Mainz has developed a complementary program, where experiments carried out in teams alternate with projects completed individually.
Above and beyond my official courseload, in 1997/1998 I founded an Ada-Lovelace-Group in Mainz, together with a postdoctoral researcher in biophysics and a co-worker in our department. The objectives of this group are:
- To encourage female pupils to study scientific and technical subjects at the university level
- To train female university students as interdisciplinary mentors
For reasons of efficiency we also established a NaT-Laboratory for both male and female pupils in June 2000 to promote the entire next generation of potential scientists.