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Strong Hall Impacts Chemistry Education

Strong HallThe newly completed Strong Hall is a 268,000-square-foot academic science structure that houses Anthropology and Earth & Planetary Sciences departments, General Biology and Chemistry teaching labs, as well as state-of-the-art teaching spaces and lecture halls.

Construction at Strong Hall started in Spring 2014 and finished in Summer 2017. A dedication ceremony was held on Friday, September 8th.  The building maintained historic details from the 1926 Sophronia Strong Residence Hall and included a total restoration of the 19th-Century Queen Ann Style Cowan Cottage at the corner of the site.

Faculty and staff at the Department of Chemistry are quite excited about the impacts of this new building and the 14,000-square-foot new lab space could bring to chemistry education.

“I think that the new building enhances the student and faculty experience at UT.  The building looks great and has tons of natural light.” David Jenkins, Associate Professor of Chemistry, said. “All of the labs have much more space per student and are designed with technology in mind. In particular, the organic labs are excellent with a top-notch facility for instruction. Having an NMR in every lab is fantastic.”

Bhavya Sharma, Assistant Professor of Chemistry agrees. “I think the new labs are amazing. They’ve got so many new features. The set-up lets an instructor put instructions up on a screen instead of having to write them out on a board. They have new instruments, and the new design of the lab spaces let the Teaching Assistants be able to see all of the students at one time. It’s really exciting.”

Sharma is particularly interested in seeing how this could impact recruitment. “I taught the Governor’s Schools for Science and Engineering in Chemistry at Strong Hall this summer. They were high school students who had never had a college level chemistry class. They were impressed with the facilities at UT, so hopefully that will encourage them to come here in the future.”