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B. Coppola

Arthur F Thurnau Professor
Associate Chair, Educational Development and Practice
Professor of Chemistry, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Office Location(s): 2403 Chemistry
Phone: 734.764.7329
Coppola Home Page

  • About

    "Discipline-centered teaching and learning" is the interdisciplinary area in which all faculty members participate, regardless of their preparation for it. Discipline-centered teaching and learning is a synthesis of two things: (1) a deep understanding of the subject matter, both content and the process of science, that comes with a comprehensive doctoral education, and (2) an application of the principles of teaching and learning that are derived from the learning sciences (i.e., from the fields of Education, Psychology, etc.). Expertise in the discipline creates a proper foundation from which a faculty member can do everything from designing effective instruction for a class of 400 first-year students to managing the doctoral education of graduate students in a research group.

    As a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry, I have divided my work between a number of areas: (1) exemplifying discipline-centered teaching and learning in the design, implementation, documentation, and evaluation in organic chemistry education; (2) as a mechanism for preparing future faculty, broadening the concept of a "research group" (which is the mechanism by which faculty members get big-idea research done) to the idea of forming "teaching groups;" and (3) the internationalization and globalization of science education.

    As the department's Associate Chair for Educational Development and Practice, I direct and oversee four programmatic areas: (1) CSIE|UM, our future faculty program, which involves chemistry's undergraduate and graduate students, and post-doctoral associates, who wish to add a more formal experience in teaching and learning to their chemistry education. By partnering with faculty members who want to get involved in educational development, these students provide the needed time and energy - as they do in the laboratory - to see ideas about teaching and learning moved into practice; (2) CALC|UM, our parallel program for students who are interested in careers in industry, government, and other parts of the private and public sectors; (3) our BS/MS and freestanding MS degree programs; and (4) liaison with the U-M administration to assist faculty colleagues in developing international agreements for cooperative research, student exchange, etc.

    CSIE|UM program (Chemical Sciences at the Interface of Education)
    CALC|UM program (Chemistry Aligned with Life & Career)

    Other Positions
    • Associate Chair, Educational Development and Practice
    • Director, University of Michigan REU Site in Chemistry
    • Director (CSIE|UM): Chemical Sciences at the Interface of Education
    • Editor, "The Hexagon" (Quarterly Publication of Alpha Chi sigma)
    • ACS Fellow, 2015
    • L. Carroll King Lecturer, Northwestern University    2013
    • Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching    2012-14
    • Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching (Finalist )    2011
    • University of Michigan Provost's Teaching Innovation Prize    2011
    • CASE/Carnegie U.S. Professor of The Year    2009
    • LSA Dean's Excellence in Teaching Award    2008
    • Fulbright Senior Specialist    2007
    • James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry 2006
    • CASE/Carnegie State of Michigan Professor of the Year    2004
    • Society for College Science Teachers (SCST)/Kendall-Hunt Outstanding Undergraduate Science Teacher Award (OUSTA)    2004
    • NSTA Outstanding Undergraduate Science Teacher Award    2003
    • Arthur F. Thurnau Professor    2001
    • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science    2001
    • Amoco Undergraduate Teaching Award    1999
    • Pew Scholar-The Carnegie Foundation    1998
    • Undergraduate Computational Science Award (Ames Laboratory-UCES)    1996
    • Center for Research on Learning and Teaching Faculty Associate    1995
    • University of Michigan "Golden Apple" Award    1994
    • LSA Dean's Excellence in Teaching Award    1991-1997
    • Sigma Xi Teaching Award    1990
    • Phi Lambda Upsilon Teacher of the Year    1988, 1994
    • Collegiate Fellows Teaching Award    1988
    • Center for Research on Learning and Teaching Postdoctoral Teaching Award    1987

    Coppola, B. P. "The Slope of the Curve" Chemical & Engineering News, November 16, 2015, p. 3
    Invited editorial from C&EN based on the 2015 "Change" publication.

    Coppola, B. P. "An Inevitable Moment: US Brain Drain" Change, 2015 47 (4), 36-45.
    Young Western Scientists are being hired, fresh off their postdocs, into Chinese Universities, with good support, good space, and enthusiasm. What might the future hold?

    Coppola, B. P. “Do Real Work, Not Homework” In, Garcia-Martinez, J.; Serrano-Torregrosa, E., Eds. Chemistry Education: Best Practices, Innovative Strategies and New Technologies NY: Wiley (in press).
     This chapter identifies and gathers practitioner-level features for what we call "Real Work" principles, which derive from a combination of authentic instruction and situated learning.

    Pontrello, J. K. Coppola, B. P. "Using Errors to Teach Through a Two-Staged Structured Review: Peer-Reviewed Quizzes and “What’s Wrong With Me?”"Journal of Chemical Education 2014, (
     Describes a number of strategies for more intentionally using errors as a method of instruction.

    Coppola, B. P.; Krajcik, J. S. “Discipline-Centered Postsecondary Education Research: Distinctive Targets, Challenges and Opportunities,” Journal of Research in Science Teaching 2014, 51 (6), 679-693.
     Introduction to the second JRST Special Issue on the titular topic, the essay explores the unique features of post-secondary science education research and sets out some challenges to advance and elevate the work.

    Shultz, G. V.; Winshel, G. A.; Inglehart, R. C.; Coppola, B. P. “Eliciting Student Explanations of Experimental Results Using an Online Discussion Board,” Journal Chemical Education 2014, 91, 684-686.(
     Online discussion is used to engage students in discussion and deliberation about organic chemistry laboratory.

    Coppola, B. P. “The Distinctiveness of a Higher Education,” Journal Chemical Education 2013, 90 (8), 955-956.
    In an era where the delivery systems dominate the discussion about higher education, this essay argues for more explicit consideration of what it is we are teaching (and why).

    Coppola, B. P.; Krajcik, J. S. “Discipline-Centered Postsecondary Education Research: Understanding University Level Science Learning,” Journal of Research in Science Teaching 2013, 50 (6), 627-638.
     Introduction to the JRST Special Issue on the titular topic, the essay explores the distinctive difference brought by a deeper connection to the discipline in postsecondary education and, consequently, to postsecondary education research.

    Coppola, B. P. "Laboratory Instruction: Ensuring an Active Learning Experience" In Svinicki, M., and McKeachie, W.J., McKeachie's Teaching Tips (14e). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2013; pp. 277-287.
    A practical overview of the literature on laboratory instruction for beginning instructors; necessarily brief and incomplete, but intended to provide entry points for practice.

    Coppola, B. P.; Kerr, K. “Teaching in China: Two Views,” Change 2013, 45 (1), 58-66.
    Two reports on the experiences of US professors who taught mainstream classes, in China, in English: one in science, in a large research university in Beijing, and one in the humanities, in a more rural setting.

    Vázquez, A.V.; McLoughlin, K.; Sabbagh, M.; Runkle, A, C.; Simon, Jeffrey; Coppola, B. P.; and Pazicni, S. “Writing-to-teach: A new pedagogical approach to elicit explanative writing in undergraduate chemistry students,” Journal of Chemical Education 2012, 89, 1025-1031.
    An application of creating and student-generated instructional materials in an introductory level physical chemistry class.

    Coppola, B. P.; Zhao, Y. "U.S. Education in Chinese Lockstep? Bad Move" The Chronicle of Higher Education,  58 (58), February 5, 2012;
     An editorial in the Chronicle's Point of View section that warns about the US moving in an educational direction that China is interested in moving away from, namely, standardized and uniform teaching and testing.


    For a complete listing of publications, please visit Coppola Home Page.

  • Research Areas of Interest
    • Organic Chemistry
      Chemistry Education