CHEM 491-494: Department Seminar 

Section 001, Course# 20123, 20124, 20125, 20126; 0.0 Credit Hr. – Spring 2020


Updated Seminar Calendar


Time/Location: 11:00 - 12:00 R / Sims Science Building, Room 105

Professor: Dr. Maria C. Gelabert,

Office/Phone: 314A Sims Science Building/323-4939

Office Hours: MF 12:30-1:30, T 3:30-4:30 or by appointment

Pre-requisites: Grade of C or better in CHEM 301

Registration Calendar (important dates for registration, S/U, graduation, etc.)



Seminars play a critical role in science, providing a venue for public dissemination of scientific methods, results and advances.  Seminars also provide "networking" opportunities through face-to-face contact.  A typical seminar usually involves an introduction of the speaker, a presentation by the speaker followed by a time for questions and discussion.  The department typically seeks speakers from other universities, industries and government agencies to provide students with a broad perspective of the chemistry enterprise.  You'll likely be attending scientific seminars throughout your career (and/or presenting your own), regardless of your chosen field.     


Course Goals:   

The goal of the seminar program is to give students opportunities to interact with scientists and researchers outside (sometimes within) the university.  In some respects, chemistry has a "culture" of its own.   Seminars often provide chemistry students a sense of this culture.  These interactions can lead students to consider careers not previously contemplated.  Sometimes, speakers set aside time after the seminar to meet with and talk to students in a smaller group or individual setting.  And sometimes, a student might learn about a summer or job opportunity...internship, fellowship, cooperative experience, post-graduate opportunity, etc.     


Winthrop University's faculty adopted a set of four University Level Competencies (ULCs) that describe the qualities our students develop during their Winthrop career.  It is easy to see that the seminar topics involve solving problems and developing written/oral communication skills.  However, you will also learn the responsibilities of chemists to the greater good of our planet and society, as well as the global nature of chemistry.  Within the discussions of the seminars, I think you will find this course fits well with all four competencies.      

Competency 1: Winthrop graduates think critically and solve problems. Winthrop University graduates reason logically, evaluate and use evidence, and solve problems. They seek out and assess relevant information from multiple viewpoints to form well-reasoned conclusions. Winthrop graduates consider the full context and consequences of their decisions and continually reexamine their own critical thinking process, including the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments.   

Competency 2: Winthrop graduates are personally and socially responsible. Winthrop University graduates value integrity, perceive moral dimensions, and achieve excellence. They take seriously the perspectives of others, practice ethical reasoning, and reflect on experiences. Winthrop graduates have a sense of responsibility to the broader community and contribute to the greater good. 

Competency 3: Winthrop graduates understand the interconnected nature of the world and the time in which they live. Winthrop University graduates comprehend the historical, social, and global contexts of their disciplines and their lives. They also recognize how their chosen area of study is inextricably linked to other fields. Winthrop graduates collaborate with members of diverse academic, professional, and cultural communities as informed and engaged citizens.   

Competency 4: Winthrop graduates communicate effectively. Winthrop University graduates communicate in a manner appropriate to the subject, occasion, and audience. They create texts - including but not limited to written, oral, and visual presentations - that convey content effectively. Mindful of their voice and the impact of their communication, Winthrop graduates successfully express and exchange ideas.      


Student Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course, you will:

·       Have an understanding of how scientific seminars are presented.  

·       Understand the role of the seminar in disseminating scientific information. 

·       Have a broader understanding of oral presentation methods and skills.  

·       Develop a sense of the culture of the chemistry enterprise and its role in society and our world. 

·       Develop a wide appreciation of the topics that chemistry touches.       

Course Requirements:   


Student Conduct Code: "Responsibility for good conduct rests with students as adult individuals." Refer to the Academic Misconduct Policy in the online Student Handbook, found in the Student Conduct page.



Seminar is required for all chemistry degree programs.  For satisfactory completion of the course, you MUST: 

·       Attend ALL scheduled seminars.  (The point is to attend….) 

·       For each seminar, a brief (one paragraph) summary of each seminar is required.  Electronic submissions to my email are preferred, but hard copy printouts are also accepted.  These are due no later than one week after the seminar.  Treat the summary as a “professional” document. (To see if you’re engaged….)       


Letter grades:  

The course is graded S/U.      



You are expected to attend each class meeting for the full scheduled time. The seminar program is often key in improved future career opportunities.     



Winthrop University is committed to providing access to education.  If you have a condition which may adversely impact your ability to access academics and/or campus life, and you require specific accommodations to complete this course, contact the Office of Accessibility (OA) at 803-323-3290, or, Please inform me as early as possible, once you have your official notice of accommodations from the Office of Accessibility.


Syllabus Changes: 

While unlikely, the Professor reserves the right to change the course syllabus if circumstances dictate. It's not unusual to have seminars added/rescheduled.  You will be notified of any change via class meeting time and/or email.


Seminar Calendar:  

Tentative Schedule*



January 16


January 23


January 30

Faculty Research Presentations:

   Dr. Cliff Calloway, Dr. Timea Fernandez and Dr. Nick Grossoehme

February 6


February 13

Dr. Hans-Conrad zur Loye, Department of Chemistry, University of South Carolina - Columbia

   The search for next generation nuclear waste sequestration materials: directed synthesis of new actinide containing oxides and fluorides

February 20


February 27


March 5


March 12

Dr. Pete Schreiber, Director of Technology, Gabriel Phenoxies, Rock Hill, SC

   Industrial chemistry: chemistry is the easy part

March 26


April 2


April 9

Dr. Meghan E. Breen, Department of Chemistry, Furman University


April 16


April 23


 *Schedule is subject to change, if weather or unexpected conflicts make it necessary.