Feature Stories Campus Events

W&L Professors Receive Grant for Chemistry Tutorial A $27,600 grant from Associated Colleges of the South will allow for the development of phase two of ChemTutor, a tutorial system for students new to college-level chemistry.

Faculty in Washington and Lee University’s chemistry and computer science departments were recently awarded a $27,600 grant from Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) to support a continuation of the ChemTutor project, which is a free online tutorial system designed to assist students with introductory chemistry.

Chemistry professors Kyle Friend, Steve Desjardins and Janice Friend and computer science professor Sara Sprenkle are involved in ChemTutor, which consists of both video tutorials and exercises. ChemTutor was created with funding from ACS by chemistry professors at W&L and Rollins College, and it was designed for use by students transitioning from high school- to college-level chemistry.

“Since ChemTutor is developed by professors, it is tailored to their courses, and since it is free and online, students can start preparing before the course begins,” Sprenkle said.

ChemTutor is now merging with the Activating Potentials project from Birmingham-Southern College and Rhodes College to create ChemTutor 2.0. Activating Potentials and ChemTutor share the goal of improving persistence of students with low socioeconomic status or who identify as underrepresented minorities in science fields.

The recent ACS grant will allow the ChemTutor 2.0 development team to grow to include 10 faculty members from W&L, Rollins, Rhodes and Birmingham-Southern. The improved system will be released to students at all four schools this fall. The funding will also allow the team to add new tutorials during the course, and it will prepare ChemTutor to be used by other institutions.

“We’re very excited to receive support for expanding ChemTutor,” Friend said, “and it has been exciting to work with such committed professors on this project.”