Plenary Speaker Profile (2006-7)
Donald J. Wink
Professor of Chemistry
University of Illinois at Chicago
Studying scientific inquiry close to the classroom

Teaching scientific inquiry is part of the dynamic of science education throughout K-12, college, and in graduate school. This talk will present work that has been done to support student learning about inquiry in diverse classroom settings, unified by a theme of examining how classroom inquiry does, or does not, intersect with inquiry as it is done in authentic science settings. The talk will include references to theories about inquiry and how inquiry learning can support content learning. The potential of the pedagogy embedded in the Science Writing Heuristic method of laboratory work will be discussed with specific examples from college and high school classrooms.

Dr. Wink is professor and former head in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Prior to this, he was an assistant professor at New York University engaged in research in theoretical, synthetic, and applied organometallic chemistry. Since his initial faculty position (1992) at UIC as coordinator of general chemistry, he has engaged in several materials and curriculum development projects. His current projects are diverse but share a theme of crossing boundaries, often using student pathways as a source of inspiration and direction. This includes much work in conjunction with community college faculty, such as his participation in an NSF Undergraduate Research Center project at the Center for Authentic Science Practice in Education. In the late 1990s he began to work with teachers and K-12 classrooms in similar outreach and collaboration projects. This has included work with colleagues in education and STEM departments on an NSF-funded graduate fellows in K–12 education project and the development of a set of integrated natural science courses for preelementary education majors. He is also working on the "Inquiry to Build Content" project in the Chicago Public Schools, a comprehensive curriculum and professional design effort in conjunction with Loyola University. He serves as secretary and councilor for the Division of Chemical Education for the American Chemical Society, as codirector of the UIC ASCEND project, and as the director of undergraduate studies for UIC Chemistry.