Responding to 21st century imperatives in chemistry education

Plenary Speakers

Ozcan Gulacar is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Davis. He obtained a Master’s degree in Physical Chemistry in 1999 and a Ph.D. in Science Education in 2007. Since then, he has designed and taught several graduate and undergraduate chemistry and science education courses for a diverse group of students at different institutions. In his current position, he primarily teaches General Chemistry courses and first-year seminars to introduce chemistry education research and the UN Sustainable Development Goals to undergraduates. His main research interests revolve around exploring interactions between cognitive and affective domains in the context of socio-scientific issues, sustainability, problem solving, and knowledge structures. Besides teaching and running research projects, he has also developed and organized workshops on implementation of social constructivist methods and effective use of technological tools in science classrooms for high school teachers and professors.

Ruby Hanson’s research has focused on uncovering students’ conceptual challenges and remediating them through innovative and interactive strategies, development of e-courseware, the use of micro-science equipment for conceptual labs, and the preparation of science teacher trainees for teaching in contemporary times. Her current projects focus on STEM, sustainability and systems thinking. She holds annual chemistry fairs for young learners to start them on the path in their study of chemistry. The fairs are supported by grants from the American Chemical Society. She is Dean of the Faculty of Science Education and a full Professor of Chemistry Education, in the University of Education, Winneba, the leading teacher education institute in Sub-Saharan Africa. Professor Hanson obtained her PhD in Chemistry Education from the University of Education. She holds an MPhil in Analytical and Environmental Chemistry from the University of Cape Coast, where she carried out research in chemical toxicology in aquatic animals. She also holds a Certificate degree in Designing & Facilitating e-Learning from the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, as well as certificates in Development and Research in Science and Mathematics Education from the Utrecht and Vrije Universiteit. She headed a Science Team that spearheaded a revolutionary national curriculum in the teaching and learning of science.

She is a member of the IUPAC-Systems Thinking in Chemistry for Sustainability International Working Group. Professor Hanson is a recipient of a District Best Teacher Award as well as many other awards at both local and international conferences and workshops.

Dr. Thomas Holme is a Morrill Professor in the Chemistry Department at Iowa State University. He received his PhD from Rice University, and held postdoctoral positions at Hebrew the University and the University of Pennsylvania. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Zambia. He served as the Director of the ACS Examinations Institute from 2002-2015 and received the Pimentel Award for chemical education from the ACS in 2017. He has been chosen as the 9th Editor in Chief of the Journal of Chemical Education since January 2020. His research interests in chemistry education encompass assessment, the development of technology tools for student learning and assessment and the development of curricular tools to add context-based content and systems thinking in General Chemistry courses.

Professor Elizabeth Mavhunga is a teacher educator and an NRF-rated researcher in Chemistry Education based at the School of Education, Wits University, South Africa. She teaches Chemistry and Methodology courses across undergraduate and postgraduate levels and has held several positions of leadership in the School including heading the School’s research portfolio. Her research is embedded within her teaching practice, focusing on developing professional teacher knowledge for teaching science topics through the theoretical construct of Topic Specific Pedagogical Content knowledge (TSPCK) which she elucidated in 2013. TSPCK has since been employed widely locally and internationally, and its inclusion in the conceptualization of the refined consensus PCK model (2019) has been widely endorsed. Prof Mavhunga has now extended her research into the digital realm, where she explores the development of pre-service teachers’ TSPCK in digital teaching contexts. Her research work is driven by the need to fast-track the development of agile and digitally knowledgeable science teachers who will deliver high quality science lessons in both traditional and virtual classroom contexts. Prof Mavhunga is a recipient of several NRF research grants, and has received two prestigious research awards by the science education professional bodies: SAARMSTE and SACI. She has graduated many postgraduate students, and authored several book chapters and journal articles in accredited publications.

Hannah Sevian is a professor of chemistry and associate provost of the University of Massachusetts Boston in the US, where she has been on the faculty since 2001. Her career also includes 7 years as a public high school chemistry and physics teacher in a Spanish bilingual program in the Boston area and 2 years serving as a program officer at the US National Science Foundation. Her doctoral and postdoctoral training was in theoretical chemical physics prior to becoming a high school teacher. Her research for the past two decades at UMass Boston has focused on chemistry learning that is proactively inclusive, recognizes and builds on students’ cultural wealth and knowledge, and creates opportunities for learning so that students take an active role in connecting school to their lived worlds. She studies how students develop chemical thinking across the decade from secondary to tertiary chemistry, how a focus on green chemistry influences students’ learning of chemistry, and how scientists and teachers develop responsive classroom assessment practices that promote students’ meaning making in chemistry. Her research has been published in chemistry, chemistry education, and science education journals. The awards she treasures most are the Boston Higher Education Partnership Service Award and the UMass President’s Award for Public Service, both in recognition of her commitment to the quality of public science education and access to higher education for students in Boston.

Invited Speakers

Associate Professor Gautam Bhattacharyya Missouri State University
Professor Ron Blonder Weizmann Institute
Professor Washington Dudu North-West University
Dr Marié J du Toit North-West University
Professor Vanessa Kind Durham University
Associate Professor Gwen Lawrie University of Queensland
Dr Kgadi Mathabathe University of Pretoria
Professor Mauro Mocerino Curtin University
Associate Professor Frackson Mumba University of Virginia
Dr Lynne Pilcher University of Pretoria
Professor Marissa Rollnick University of Pretoria and the Witwatersrand
Dr Joyce Sewry Rhodes University
Assistant Professor Ginger Shultz University of Michigan
Associate Professor Daniel Southam Curtin University