Holy Cross Faculty Visit Becker

Published on Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

Since making the move from adjunct to full-time faculty this fall, Janardan Kumar, Ph.D. (pictured far left), a specialist in glaucoma research, has been exploring ways to enhance the science program at Becker College. He extended a hand of friendship to faculty at other members of the Colleges of Worcester Consortium, and he recently visited the Chemistry Department at the College of the Holy Cross.

Dr. Kumar was well received by organic chemist Ronald Jarret, Ph.D. and his department.  Dr. Jarret accepted a formal invitation from Becker Dean of Humanities and Sciences James Stone, Ph.D. (second from left), and on December 7, he paid a visit, along with several Holy Cross colleagues (two pictured far right), to meet with Becker faculty and tour laboratories on the Leicester and Worcester campuses. In his classes at Holy Cross, Dr. Jarret uses experiments developed by his own research group and subsequently published in the Journal of Chemical Education.

The discussion among the educators crossed curricula. Dr. Jarret’s group included specialists in other areas of chemistry, and a professor of math. During their visit to Becker, the Holy Cross faculty also met assistant professor of mathematics Anna Titova, Ph.D., and English faculty John Deitrick and M.T. Nezam-Mafi, Ph.D. presented their experiences developing a “writing across the disciplines” program at Becker. In animated conversation, Dr. Jarret agreed with the English professors, and laboratory coordinator Fredrick Liberatore, Ph.D. (pictured nealing), that the ability to write clear and concise reports was a crucial element in science education.

Members of the Holy Cross delegation were treated to an experiment in organic electrochemistry on their final stop on the Becker tour, Dr. Liberatore’s lab on the Leicester campus. Dr. Kumar and Dr. Liberatore are in the process of incorporating microscale organic chemistry into the general chemistry course at Becker. “Doing experiments on the microscale has several advantages,” said Dr. Liberatore, “The volumes of chemicals used are very small, and the same is true for wastes generated.”

“I take this as gesture of good will and a possible foundation for an extended collegial relationship between our schools,” said Dr. Stone. He explained the goals of the exchange as considering learning objectives in undergraduate science programs, models of good practice in science education, grant opportunities for developing labs and acquiring scientific instruments, and systematic assessment tools for measuring student learning in the sciences. The experience has lit a flame of enthusiasm; Dr. Stone said he will be encouraging faculty throughout his division to explore opportunities to collaborate with other Consortium institutions.

(Also pictured is Mary Ellen Davis, Ph.D., professor of biological science at Becker)