Title: Toward a core organic chemistry curriculum for
Latin American universities
Breslow, Gernot Boche,
Moises Canle Lopez,
Michel Chanon, Gabriel
Chuchani, G. Cuevas,
M. A. Dozal Gomez,
Maria C. Miras, R.
A. More O'Ferrall, Oswaldo
Nuņez, Alice .L.
Perez, Charles Perrin,
Frank Quina, Marcos
Caroli Rezende, Edmundo
Roberto Saad, Jose
Seoane, P. Seidl,
and N. Waksman
1) Propose general recommendations for up-to-date university curricula
in organic chemistry, without interfering with instructors' freedom.
2) Contribute to the public understanding of chemistry
by introducing fundamental concepts showing the involving of organic chemistry in most aspects of common life.
3) Facilitate communication, transferability of courses
and exchange of students, as well as insertion of the graduates
in transnational industries. The task group initially worked with
a worldwide scope, the current presentation is limited to the Latin
American universities as a more manageable first approach. If this
project is successful, it might be extended to other developing
countries and/or regions.
IUPAC is in a unique position to facilitate the international education
of chemistry students. We propose to develop recommendations for
curricula in organic chemistry, including a set of required and
recommended topics to be covered at each educational level in the
University. The project will also focus on the ways that education
in developing countries could be aided. This will assure students
of receiving an interchangeable preparation and will guarantee the
adequacy of a student's preparation. Our goal is to ensure that
students reach an acceptable level of knowledge by the end of their
course of studies, without undue gaps. There is no intention of
imposing a uniform curriculum. The aim is contribute to define what
new material should be introduced and what can be deleted or reduced.
A similar work has been recently undertaking by professors of more
than 200 European universities developing the European Chemistry
Thematic Network (ECTN).
Background: the team exchanged information and classified
the topics as essential, desirable and non-essential. It also encourages
the inclusion of motivating examples of national and/or regional
interests, that are relevant to young students and that contribute
to the public understanding of chemistry. Within them, a global
issue is the protection and reclamation of the environment and the
encouragement of sustainable development. The development of students'
communication skills, both written and oral, and the need to promote
aptitudes of continual learning, is emphasized.
A first discussion with Latin American professors was held at the
6th Latin American Conf. Phys. Org. Chem. (Venezuela, Dec. 2001),
many of them were willing to participate in the project, besides
the Latin American members of the Task Group.
An informal meeting of the TG members and several
other participants to the ICPOC16 (16th. IUPAC Conf. on Phys.Org.
Chem.), was hold in San Diego (CA, USA) in August 7, 2002, with
very stimulant discussions and suggestions.
A Plenary Lecture entitled : "Toward a Core Organic
Chemistry Curriculum for Latin American Universities: an IUPAC sponsored
project" was given by N. Nudelman at the XXVth Latin American Congress
of Chemistry hold in Cancun, (Mexico) in September 24, 2002. Ronald
Breslow attended also the Conference; he actively participated in
the discussions following the lecture and several attendees asked
to enrol in the TG of the project.
In September 2003, a mini-satellite symposium was
organized on occasion of the 7th Latin American Conference on Physical
Organic Chemistry (CLAFQO-7) held in Florianópolis (Brazil).
The symposium started with a brief report on the overall current
state of the project, and then each member of the Latin American
Task Group (LTG) presented the "state of the art" of the
project in his/her University. Participants of other countries,
still non-members of the LTG, were invited to briefly comment on
the teaching of Organic Chemistry in their Universities. The audience
was also enriched by the attendance of several lecturers and participants
to the CLAFQO-7 from the Northern Hemisphere, that made significant
contributions during the discussions.
The results of the questionnaire that had been circulated
during May-July, 2003 among the universities of the region, were
then presented and discussed. As a result of the discussion, it
was proposed to design an up-dated OC Curriculum with this material,
a proposal was then written and distributed among the members of
the LTG in December 2003, to be tested in 2004. The proposal of
a Core OC Curriculum includes 14 main topics to be developed in