Perspectives in Nutrition
March 04, 2010
Chemistry 105 - Perspectives in Nutrition is an introductory level course designed for non-majors to study Chemistry and fulfill their Scientific & Quantitative Reasoning, Category A requirement in a manageable and interesting way. In a recent interview, Professor of Chemistry Kenneth Strothkamp described his course as “remarkably descriptive, for a Chemistry class.” He went on to say, “There are indications that our diet helps to shape us in both positive and negative ways, and so I try to point that out to students. The purpose is not to make you eat healthy. I don’t preach to you; I just try to set out the science behind it.” The class looks at topics such as evolution, the relationship between human and animal nutrition, and diet and disease. It is based around concepts rather than calculations and designed in a way that makes Chemistry accessible and enjoyable to all students.
When asked about his expectations for the upcoming Summer Sessions, Prof. Strothkamp said, “I try to do something a little different every time around. For example, if a student wants to modify an experiment to answer a question that is of particular interest to him or her, I try to be accommodating. The way I view it, even though I am officially in charge and that means certain things, the transfer of knowledge is not just a one-way street. I gain a lot from my students in the questions they raise and I love that.” Prof. Strothkamp also pointed out that there are continuous developments in the field, so each time he teaches the class he incorporates the most current ideas.
The material covered during the Summer is the same as the fall/spring semesters, but compressed into four weeks during Session I. The course meets for two hours, four times a week. Prof. Strothkamp emphasized that, in spite of this daunting time scale, the atmosphere of Summer Sessions is much more relaxed. Students in Summer Sessions take just one or two classes at a time and class sizes are much smaller, so they are able to focus more deeply on the subject. Similarly, faculty teach fewer people in fewer classes and are able to devote more attention and time to each student. “My students are my total focus for the time that my class meets,” Prof. Strothkamp said, and this, he believes, is the greatest advantage of Summer Sessions. “The small class size, the accessibility of the faculty, and the overall more relaxed atmosphere of Summer Sessions more than compensate for the compressed time scale in which the courses are laid out.”