Modeling the Mission

A Hungry Tuesday seminar on Oral Exams co-taught with Mark Prochaska

Collaboration amongst colleagues is a key aspect of life at Culver.  Over the past five years, I have worked with Tom Duckett, Bill Roth and Mark Prochaska running the scoreboard and software during swimming meets.  As my role later evolved to encompass BI duty primarily, I worked with Jon Posner to develop meaningful relationships with the boys of Company A and model appropriate behavior and expectations during study hours.

Sharing ideas and common goals is key to educating the whole person at Culver.  I have worked with Physics instructors (Mark Prochaska, Jason Nightingale, Igor Stefanic, Xenia Czifrik) in the development of units of study related to thermodynamics and modern physics (see Teaching page for this content).  Most recently, I’ve collaborated with Josh Pretzer and Chris Carrillo in the development of an alternative energy unit in chemistry, as well as working with Phil Blessman and Chris Carrillo in the development of coursework for the Engineering I and II electives.

I’ve also had the opportunity for cross-departmental collaboration.  Working with the Collegiality @ Culver committee, we discussed ways to create viable personal learning communities, which have since become a steadfast portion of on campus professional development.

Community Outreach

Community outreach is very important to me as an educator and scientist.  Throughout my career, I’ve made it a point to share my content and curriculum with whomever would like it.  Some good examples are the units of study on LEDs and more recently, the curriculum developed for Engineering I and II.

Xing/Jena Research Group

An additional outreach to the community at large occurs each year through Chem-o-ween, an evening filled with chemistry demonstrations and hands-on activities. Below is a video of my very first Chem-o-ween production when I was an instructor at Oak Park and River Forest High School in Oak Park, Illinois.  While initially Chem-o-ween was developed to instill a love of learning and curiousity in my students, it has transformed into a community event at Culver where faculty and staff families, as well as local community members attend to learn more about and experience chemistry.

Chem-o-ween from Phil Cook on Vimeo.

In addition to Chem-o-ween, I’ve forged partnerships with faculty from the University of Notre Dame which have allowed students to experience nanoscale phenomena, as many physics students did when Dr. Grace Xing visited campus with a portable atomic force microscope.  The partnership with Notre Dame has also allowed students in Science Research Honors to engage in projects that would otherwise be impossible due to equipment limitations.

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