A Successful “Introduction to ChE” First-Semester Course Focusing on Connection, Communication, and Preparation


  • Susan C. Roberts University of Massachusetts


Should chemical engineering fundamentals be offered to first semester freshmen? A new course has been developed at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for such a purpose. The course was designed both to motivate students to study ChE and to increase retention of students after the first year. Course activities are arranged to 1) illustrate the wide-range of potential careers available with a degree in ChE, 2) develop both oral and written technical communication skills, and 3) allow students to become “connected” to both the profession and the UMass ChE Department. The course is highly rated by first-semester freshmen and transfer students, motivating them to continue studies in ChE.

Author Biography

Susan C. Roberts, University of Massachusetts

Susan Roberts is associate professor of chemical engineering at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She received her B.S. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1992 and her Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1998, both in chemical engineering. Her research interests are in biochemical engineering, with a focus on plant metabolic engineering and design of in vitro systems for the study of cellular function.