Document Type

Contribution to Book

Source Publication

Engaging Chemistry Students with Real-World Context: Volume 2

Publication Date



Daniel B. King and Gail H. Webster


American Chemical Society


Volume 2


ACS Symposium Series



First Page


Last Page




Second Department



Adding context to educational environments has shown benefits in a variety of cases, but it can be difficult to generate relatable and relevant real-world materials with which students can engage meaningfully. Community engaged learning (CEL) is a high impact educational practice that delivers place-based context to course content through a partnership with community organizations. It has been demonstrated in the literature that CEL leads to improved academic outcomes for students, and there has been increasing interest in having CEL appear throughout the curriculum (across levels and disciplines). Introducing community engagement can be challenging for courses that traditionally have significant amounts of technical content, as is common in chemistry. In this chapter, the development of CEL for an upper-division analytical chemistry laboratory course is described through a partnership with a University Farm and Community Garden. Using an on-campus partner for CEL development can provide a low-stakes entry point, since all parties involved understand the expectations and demands of students at the institution. In addition, it can be simpler to convey issues to an on-campus partner about the reliability of student-generated experimental data and the realities of analytical method development on short timeframes during the academic term, and it may be a lower barrier to agree upon mutually beneficial outcomes early in the CEL development process. University Farms and Community Gardens are community-connected entities; they serve as a networking touch-point for ongoing development of community engaged activities. Rapid growth of University Farms and Community Gardens has occurred in recent years, so many institutions now have access to such resources. At Bucknell University, the upper-division analytical chemistry course (covering instrumental analysis) has engaged in nutrient analysis of produce grown on the Farm, which aids in the development of horticultural practices at both the Farm and Garden. Food grown at the University Farm and Community Garden is distributed to food banks and a local food hub in the interest of addressing food insecurity in the region, which is an issue of significant concern to the community. Continuing development of the course will move toward direct engagement with off-campus partners, as analytical methodologies and mechanisms for effective communication with partners continue to advance. The development of the partnership discussed in this chapter could serve as a blueprint or inspiration for similar partnerships at other institutions.


Attached is the accepted manuscript of the chapter provided by the author. Copyright of book and chapter © 2023 American Chemical Society

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