CLEMSON – Professor Melanie Cooper, the Lappan-Phillips Chair in the department of chemistry at Michigan State University, will return to Clemson University on Feb. 15 as the keynote speaker in the 2018 H. Garth Spencer Endowed Memorial Seminar. Cooper was a long-time faculty member at Clemson University before moving to Michigan State in 2012.

Melanie Cooper was a professor in the department of chemistry at Clemson from 1987-2012.
Image Credit: Michigan State University

Cooper’s seminar, titled “Evidence-Based Approaches to Curriculum Reform and Assessment,” will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday in Hunter 100.

Cooper is a renowned chemist and an advocate for science education whose research focuses on the development of successful teaching and learning practices in chemistry education. With a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, Cooper devised “Chemistry, Life, the Universe and Everything (CLUE),” an evidence-based and research-validated curriculum for general chemistry courses at the college level. Cooper has used CLUE as the foundation for curriculum reform in organic chemistry, and has also developed a web-based system for assessing student knowledge called “beSocratic.”

During her tenure at Clemson, Cooper was an Alumni Distinguished Professor in Chemistry and the recipient of the 2010 Class of ’39 Award for Faculty Excellence. She also served as Interim Chair of the department of engineering and science education from 2008-10.

Cooper’s numerous accolades include the ACS Award for Achievement in Research on Teaching and Learning in Chemistry (2014), the Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching of Chemistry (2013), and the Outstanding Undergraduate Science Teacher Award from the Society for College Science Teaching (2011). She even holds an honorary doctorate of science from the University of South Florida (2017).

She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry, and has served on the National Research Council Advisory Board on Science Education, where she helped identify problems and provide solutions to STEM education at the undergraduate level.

Cooper earned her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Manchester, England. She conducted postdoctoral research in organic chemistry before joining Clemson University in 1987.

The H. Garth Spencer Endowed Memorial Seminar in Chemistry was established in 2000 with a gift from the Chemistry Graduate Student Association and others. Spencer came to Clemson as an assistant professor in 1959, and was the department chair from 1966-77. The endowment that funds this lecture series was created by his wife, Mary Dean Spencer.