Chemistry 294

Spring, 2012


General Requirements:


Seminar is Friday, 2-3 P.M., in SQU-316. On occasions, the seminar will go a little past 3 P.M. (although those needing to leave at 3 P.M. will be given an opportunity to leave then).


Chemistry 294 is a core requirement for all chemistry graduate students. To complete your requirement, you must enroll for 4 semesters.


You must present two seminars, one literature and one on your thesis. Note: the two seminars cannot be presented the same semester. Thesis seminars will be held at other dates and times (not during the Friday, 2 pm time).


Giving a literature seminar is a requirement for advancing to candidacy.


The topic of your literature seminar should be determined in conjunction with your research advisor and the seminar coordinator. The topic should not be related to your research area. This is your opportunity to study another area of chemistry. The topic must be submitted several weeks before the beginning of the semester and be approved by the graduate committee before you are given a seminar date. Forms to submit your seminar abstract and deadlines for the abstract submission can be found in the graduate section of the department website.


The topic should be recent and relevant. Remember: These are CHEMISTRY seminars!!! Choose your topic appropriately. You should do a literature review. You should have at least 10 peer reviewed literature references, including more than half primary literature articles (as opposed to review articles). Textbooks, which might be used for background material, should not be included in the 10 references. Wikipedia and other encyclopedias (on-line or printed) should never be used as a reference. Several of your articles should be from the past two years.


The class is graded credit/no credit. No incomplete grades are given.


You must attend 80% of the offered seminars during the semester to receive credit. You are responsible for signing in each week.


Please be courteous to other speakers.


Do NOT use a cell phone to text message and/or receive calls during a seminar. Turn your cell phone off upon coming to seminar. Any use of the cell phone will result in an absence for that seminar.


Late attendance will not be counted as a present. Do NOT walk in on speakers when you are very late.


An abstract must be submitted at least one week prior to your seminar. It will be posted on the seminar flyer. References should be included.


Guidelines for Seminar Presentation:

The goal for the seminar speaker is to disseminate important, relevant information to the audience in a manner that is clear, organized, understandable, and even entertaining. Clarity and good organization are the two most important features of the presentation. Below are some tips on how to improve your seminar.


Dress appropriately for the occasion. Make a good impression.


Show up early to make sure the A/V equipment is working.


Have an overview slide that gives a brief outline of what you will be discussing.


Do not use slides with too much information on them. Keep it simple.


If you present a slide, talk about it.


When a reference is used, it should be cited on the slide.


Be sure to provide adequate background information such that the audience can understand your talk.


Use color to highlight key points.


Make sure everything is large enough and has enough contrast so that your audience can clearly read your slide.


Make eye contact with the audience. If you have your back to the audience throughout the talk, they will likely lose interest in what you are saying. Pay attention to how the audience is reacting to you.


PRACTICE your talk several times before you give it. This will help you figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it. It will also give you the opportunity to find out how long your presentation will be. Remember: it should be approximately 45-50 min. Seminars lasting less than 40 minutes or longer than 55 minutes will not receive credit for this graduation requirement, and seminar must be given again on a new topic in a subsequent semester.


Have your research advisor, your peers, and / or the seminar coordinator listen to your presentation. PRACTICE!


Watch how other seminar speakers make their presentation. What did they do well and where were there problems?


Make the most of the opportunity. This is your chance to share your knowledge on a subject that interests you.


Seminar Evaluation and Acceptable Seminars


Student literature seminars will be evaluated by faculty in attendance. (See the “Seminar Evaluation” handout.)


Either the seminar coordinator or the student’s research advisor will meet with the student after the seminar to go over evaluations and give suggestions for improvements in future seminars.


A seminar will be considered acceptable if every faculty member reviewing the seminar gives it a “pass” grade.


Students receiving a majority of faculty evaluations of “fail” will be considered unacceptable and the student will be required to give another seminar on a new topic in a subsequent semester.


Students receiving a mixture of both “pass” and “fail” marks will be required to meet with the seminar coordinator to assess remediation.




One month before seminar—students will turn in a detailed outline of the talk


One week before seminar—students will turn in their PowerPoint slides with their abstract and references for the talk flier


Monday of seminar week—Research advisor must notify coordinator that they have seen and approved your talk for the up-coming Friday. You may not give seminar without your advisor’s approval.


PLEASE NOTE: Students who sign up to give a seminar but fail to do so will be required to wait out one semester before being allowed another opportunity to give seminar.