Melanie Cooper was installed as the first Lappan-Phillips Professor of Science Education in the Michigan State University Department of Chemistry.
Cooper comes to MSU from Clemson University, where she was an Alumni Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. She is jointly appointed in the departments of chemistry and teacher education, and in the CREATE for STEM Institute. Cooper received her B.S, M.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Manchester, England. She carried out postdoctoral work in organic chemistry before turning to chemical education as her area of research, where her focus is on improving teaching and learning in large enrollment general and organic chemistry courses. An outgrowth of this research is the development and assessment of evidence-driven, research-based curricula.
The professorship will serve to advance Cooper’s work and provide a significant boost to the discipline-based education research field.
Support for the professorship comes from the Connected Mathematics Project 2 Fund at MSU. The fund was created with royalties received from the Connected Mathematics 2 textbook, the single most widely used mathematics textbook in America for students in grades 6-8, which was developed by MSU mathematics educators, Glenda Lappan and Elizabeth Phillips. Lappan and Phillips gifted their portion of the royalties to establish the fund.