Students interested in graduate school, careers in teaching, and/or any career involving managing people will be able to explore these careers through being a Chemistry Associate Instructor. A Chemistry Associate Instructor (CAI) intern in the Department of Chemistry is a junior or senior who assists faculty with the teaching mission of the department. These assignments may be made to assist in a discussion or laboratory section of a course. In addition, CAIs will have proctoring assignments for exams and/or administering teaching evaluations during the semester.
Becoming a CAI can be an invaluable teaching experience. It develops communication and leadership skills and provides an opportunity to better understand how people learn. These skills will prove beneficial even outside the classroom. Experience as a CAI is particularly helpful for students who are considering graduate school, since teaching is as much a part of graduate school as are classes and research. Being a CAI will also be strong motivation to review some of the material that is on the Chemistry GRE, not to mention the MCAT. Furthermore, faculty can write recommendation letters with specific examples of the positive attributes of CAIs after working with them. Acceptance into the CAI program is an award and should be quoted as such on resumes and other program applications.
Students interested in doing an internship in chemical instruction for credit via CHEM-X371, Internship in Chemical Instruction, must meet the eligibility requirements, understand the guidelines stated below, abd should submit an application for each term they wish to teach.
Interested students may request an application by visiting the Undergraduate Office. Their grades will be assessed to determine their eligibility to serve in the courses where they are needed. In addition, class schedules are reviewed to determine compatibility with the needs of the department. Assignments are made by the Graduate Office and are subject to change through the first week of the semester.
Class Standing: CAI’s should have at least junior class standing by the time the appointment begins. However, exceptional underclassman may also be considered.
GPA: Candidates must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.25 as well as a major GPA of 3.25 or higher.
Specific Course Grades: Generally, you must have earned an A- or better in the course for which you will be assigned to serve as a CAI. You must also have earned excellent grades in related classes.
Written Statement: This is a very important part of the application. When candidates for a position are relatively equal in the above areas, the statement can make the difference. Be sure to proofread your statement.
All applicants will be notified of their status via email or a letter mailed to their local address. CAI’s must accept their positions by signing the Acceptance Form and Contract provided with their award letter. Alternates are notified of their alternate status and then notified again when openings arise. This can happen immediately when another CAI has to decline a position or as late as the first days of the semester, when selected CAI’s occasionally have unexpected problems and must drop out of the program.
All students accepted as CAI’s will have to go through an appropriate training program and must pass the departmental safety exam before they can begin their assignment. Failure to comply with requirements of the program or the faculty of the course for which they have been assigned as a CAI can result in immediate removal from the course.
CHEM-X371 is a course which is taken for elective credt outside the major. No credit hours earned from X371 may be used toward the hours required for the chemistry or biochemistry major.
Grades are assigned on a pass/fail (S or F) basis.
Students enrolled in CHEM-X371 can enroll in variable credit load vary based on their teaching expectations. Speak with the instructor of the courses where you are assigned about what the expected work load will be to enroll in the correct number of credit hours. Once the work load has been determined, permissions can be provided by the Chemistry Undergraduate Office (C021) for you to enroll in CHEM-X371 in the correct number of credit hours.
CAI’s must attend all meeting of the course they are scheduled to teach.
For more information, please contact the Undergraduate Office at (812) 855-2700.