Green Organic Chemistry: Curriculum Development and Dissemination

textbook coverStarting in 1997 we developed what has become a revolution in education within organic chemistry laboratory – the green organic chemistry laboratory curriculum. Since the publication of our textbook, Green Organic Chemistry: Strategies, Tools and Laboratory Experiments, in 2003, we have focused on three major activities: (i) developing additional green chemistry experiments and supporting the education community in developing new experiments, (ii) disseminating educational materials through on-line resources, publications and workshops, and (iii) leading a network of scholars who are advancing green chemistry within education.

During the last few years, we developed a number of new educational experiments and supported the community in doing the same. During this time, the number of experiments developed collectively has, at least, doubled. Our own innovations include a liquid carbon dioxide extraction of limonene from orange peel, greener approaches to bromination of stilbene and methods for evaluating the relative greenness of the alternative reactions, and novel examples of solventless and aqueous reactions that illustrate green chemistry concepts. The liquid carbon dioxide experiment is the most widely adopted experiment in green chemistry. It has been used as a demonstration widely throughout K-20, is used as an experiment in high schools and colleges and is almost always used in green chemistry education workshops.

We continue to disseminate these materials through our annual “Green Chemistry in Education Workshop”. This summer we held the 10th annual weeklong workshop for educators. We have hosted over 200 college and university educators at the workshop. Based upon a recently completed longitudinal study of the activities of the participants, we found that the vast majority of these faculty have adopted green chemistry in their institution and most have influenced others at their institution to introduce green chemistry in their coursework. Nearly 30,000 students have been exposed to green chemistry through the efforts of the participants in our workshops. As part of our NSF-supported work on dissemination of the curriculum, Julie Haack has developed the GEMs (Greener Educational Materials) for Chemists website and the Green Chemistry Education Network that supports this network of green chemistry educators. 

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McKenzie, L. C.; Thompson, J. E.; Sullivan, R.; Hutchison, J. E. "Green chemical processing in the teaching laboratory: A convenient liquid CO2 extraction of natural products," Green Chem. 2004, 6, 355-358.

McKenzie, L. C.; Huffman, L. M.; Hutchison, J. E. "The evolution of a green chemistry laboratory experiment greener brominations of stilbene," J. Chem. Ed. 2005, 82, 306-310.

Haack, J.A.; Hutchison, J.E.; Kirchhoff, M.M.; Levy, I. J. “Going Green: Lecture Assignments and Lab Experiences for the College Curriculum,” J. Chem. Ed. 2005, 82, 974-976.

McKenzie, L.C.; Huffman, L.M.; Rogers, C.; Hutchison, J.E.; Goodwin, T.E. “Greener Solutions for the Organic Chemistry Lab: Exploring the Advantages of Alternative Reaction Media,” J. Chem. Ed. 2009, 86, 488.