Lab Policies and Values


This lab studies learning environments, curricular materials, and assessments. Given that most chemistry curricula and concomitant assessments reflect tradition and personal empiricism rather than evidence or theories of How People Learn, we draw from cognitive, learning, and educational theories and methods to support student learning of chemistry.

Within this understanding of the history and future trajectories of chemistry education, we prioritize student learning. Leveraging the domain-general theories of learning, educational and statistical research methods, and our own expertise in the discipline of chemistry, the focus is supporting and promoting student learning in an equitable and evidence-based manner. This perspective helps focus our work on eliciting and analyzing student responses to well-designed, theory-aligned tasks delivered within authentic learning environments, and then actualizing the results of these analyses to promote and support productive student reasoning in the context of the learning environment.

Through small perturbations of this complex system of the learning environment, we can work to support all learners through (1) well-designed instructional events that are aligned—curricular materials, instruction, and assessment—as well as (2) critiquing the system of the learning environment through the analysis of student-level responses. The insights from this work are intended to position learning chemistry as using chemistry core ideas in scientific ways, to build a foundation of connections that can support individuals along their learning pathways. This may require stepping back from our vantage point of “chemists” to critically examine how will this knowledge serve future student learning both within chemistry and across other disciplines, such as biology, toxicology, or environmental sciences.

Code of Conduct

Below are some select policies, please see the Day CER Lab Manual for a full set of policies.


The goal of the Day CER Lab is to support learning: for our students, for our colleagues, and for our labmates. In order to create environments in which all can learn, it must be free of harassment and discrimination. Echoing the University’s policies, the members of the Day CER Lab will not tolerate verbal or physical harassment or discrimination on the basis of education, culture, ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity and expression, nation of origin, age, language(s) spoken, veteran status, color, religious views, disability, and/or sexual orientation.

Confidentiality and Participant Protection

Assume that all data, materials, and presentations are confidential and proprietary, unless given permission by the PI. These expectations follow from the mandated Institutional Review Board (IRB) training, which is described more fully in the Required Training section. Our protocols are designed to ensure that only approved personnel have access to our data, and that the data are treated with the appropriate care and scientific integrity. It is up to each member to ensure that confidential materials are not made available to unapproved individuals.

Scientific Integrity

As we learn, we grow, and we may make mistakes. The important guiding principle is to be open and honest about mistakes as soon as they are identified. The integrity of our work and the respect of all participants, collaborators, and researchers is my utmost priority.


Supporting student learning within chemistry and for future use along the student’s learning pathway motivates us to seek out partners within chemistry, across disciplines, and across institutional contexts.

Mentoring and Advising

My favorite part about this job—just as it is with teaching—is that I get to learn, too. I anticipate that I will learn a lot from you, and I hope that I am just as helpful on your path as well. Meeting and advising policies are intended to help me help you best, and to keep both of us accountable for your training. See Day Lab manual for more details.

As outlined in the Department’s Graduate Handbook, graduate students in the Day CER Lab are expected to attain a degree in chemistry. That will imply a certain level of expertise in chemistry. To value individual interests, you are welcome to pursue any traditional area of chemistry—organic, physical, inorganic, analytical, biochemistry—for your chemistry courses. However, departmental policy states that credits must cover 3 of the 5 traditional areas of chemistry. Although I consider myself an analytical chemist, I’ve tried a lot of different types of chemistry and will do my best to help you through the degree requirements, as allowed by the Department’s policies.

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