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Teaching Philosophy

As an academician, Dr. Arthur Ragauskas’ core belief is that a professor can only be as successful as the students he educates, mentors and graduates. As such, Ragauskas’ academic mission has been, and remains, the cornerstone of his career objectives. These career objectives include:


Teaching Accomplishments

Ragauskas taught and developed several courses while at the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at GA Tech, including:

GA Tech Teaching Assignment Year Student Teaching
Effectiveness
Undergraduate
Evaluations
   2312 Organic Chemistry 2003 4.3/5.0
   2312 Organic Chemistry (Section A) 2005 4.4/5.0
   2312 Organic Chemistry (Section B) 2005 4.5/5.0
   2312 Organic Chemistry (Section A) 2006 4.5/5.0
   2312 Organic Chemistry (Section B) 2006 4.5/5.0
Graduate
Special Topics: Organic Chemistry
   8833 Chemistry of Pulping and Bleaching * 2004 4.0/5.0
   8833 Chemistry of Pulping and Bleaching 2005 4.8/5.0
   8833 Biorenewable Polymers * 2005 5.0/5.0
   * New courses developed by Ragauskas

In all three of these courses, Ragauskas strived to develop a teaching format that is tailored to the students' needs and is directed at engaging the students so that they achieve intellectual excellence and growth. This goal has been pursued by developing a set of integrated multimedia teaching aids for classroom presentations and web-teaching aids; these are supplemented with a one-on-one teaching format for those students requiring additional mentoring and assistance. This past year Ragauskas was nominated by Chemistry 2312 students for the 2006 National Society of Collegiate Scholars Faculty of the Year Award.

With the integration of the Institute of Paper Science and Technology (IPST) into GA Tech, Ragauskas served on the academic integration committee and help structure the graduate Paper Science and Engineering program that is offered in several schools at GIT, including the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  The course curriculum for this program required the development of two new graduate courses titled "Chemistry of Pulping and Bleaching" and "Biorenewable Polymers." During the first two years at GIT, Ragauskas developed these courses, which are now offered on an annually basis. These courses have been well received by graduate students in chemistry and incorporate modern concepts of sustainability and green chemistry. These educational concepts have been acknowledged as a national need, as highlighted in the recent NSF-sponsored Chemistry Workshop on Sustainability (2006). Furthermore, these courses compliment GT’s School for Chemistry and Biochemistry interdisciplinary program titled Environmental Chemistry and Sustainable Technologies: Energy, Biorenewable Resources and “Green” Chemistry. In addition, Ragauskas was invited to present sections of the Chemistry of Pulping and Bleaching course to graduate students at the Departamenta Cienca Universidade da Beira Interior (Portugal) as a Luso-American Foundation Teaching Fellow (2003).  In recognition of these accomplishments and prior teaching accomplishments, Ragauskas was elected a TAPPI Fellow in 2003.


Teaching Experience

Chalmers University

Fiber Line Bleaching (Graduate Level)
Department of Forest Products and Chemical Engineering
Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden (Letter of Reference)

Course Summary:

The course is directed at reviewing recent developments in advanced pulp bleaching.  Students are introduced to advanced concepts in lignin/carbohydrate structure and pulp bleachability.  State of the art pulp bleaching equipment, chemistry and environmental issues are explored.

Course Objectives:

  1. To provide a review of how lignin/carbohydrate structure influences pulp bleachability.
  2. Establish the relationship between basic pulp bleaching chemistry and modern bleach plant operations.

Course Outline:

Structure of residual lignin in pulp after kraft pulping.
Chemistry of lignin-removing and lignin-retaining bleaching.
Difficulties in characterizing pulp (e.g., viscosity, kappa-number, optical properties, etc.).
Kinetics of delignification.
Process descriptions (layouts).
Equipment used in bleaching plants.
Environmental aspects of pulp bleaching.
New bleaching technologies (e.g., enzymes).

Georgia Institute of Techology

CHEM 86996 - Biorenewable Polymers
The course is directed at reviewing advanced chemical principles of biorenewable polymers including polysaccharides and lignin with a special emphasis on chemical derivatization, reactivity, and conformational analysis.  Students are introduced to current concepts in conformational analysis of carbohydrates, chemical derivatization of carbohydrates and lignin, and the conversion of these biopolymers into biocomposites and biofuels. 

CHEM 4341 - Applied Spectroscopy
Applied spectroscopy theory and application of NMR, mass spectrometry, and infrared spectroscopy in the determination of organic structures. Students are introduced into the basic concepts of structural determination with a special emphasis on examples from the literature.

CHEM 2312 - Organic/Bioorganic Chem
Organic and Bioorganic Chemistry second course in organic chemistry that extends the study to topics in biochemistry. Subject mater covered includes: Alcohols from Carbonyl Compounds; Conjugated Unsaturated Systems; Reactions of Aromatic Compounds; Aldehydes and Ketones and their chemistry; Carboxylic Acids and Their Derivatives; Synthesis and Reactions of  ß-Dicarbonyl Compounds and Chemistry of Amines.

CHEM 8833A Pulping and Bleaching Chemistry
This course focuses on developing an understanding of the fundamen­tal chemistry associated with pulping and bleaching of wood. The subject material encompasses: (1) the detailed analysis of the chemical structure of the major wood components, (2) the nature and scope of the reactions of pulping and bleaching reagents with typical carbohydrate and lignin functional groups, and (3) the un­derlying factors which explain differences in the degree of lignin vs. carbo­hydrate degradation during pulping and bleaching stages. The focus is on alkaline/NaSH pulping and ClO2, H2O2, O2/NaOH, O3 bleaching chemistry of chemical and mechanical pulps. 

CHEM 86996 Biorenewable Polymers
The course is directed at reviewing advanced chemical principles of biorenewable polymers including polysaccharides and lignin with a special emphasis on conformational analysis, chemical derivatization, reactivity, and depolymerization.  Students are introduced to current concepts of the biofinery, green chemistry/sustainability and the utilization of cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin for biochemicals, biocomposites and biofuels. 

Practical Continuing Education

Kraft Pulping/Bleaching Process Chemistry and Corrosion Prevention

By Drs. Arthur J. Ragauskas and Preet M. Singh

Modern kraft pulping and bleaching operations involve a host of chemical operations that frequently require high temperatures, pressures, and aggressive chemical agents.  The key to improved mill operations and high-quality products is the successful utilization of these chemical operations to delignify/brighten kraft pulps while minimizing operating cost, equipment corrosion, and environmental impact.

This four-day course will review the practical chemical processes involved in modern kraft pulping and ECF bleaching operations that maximize bleaching performance while extending the life span of pulp/bleaching capital equipment. Upon completion of the four-day course students will have an improved understanding of kraft pulping and bleaching process chemistry and corrosion prevention.

Institute of Paper Science and Technology

A-20 Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry
The overall goal of this course is to provide the student with the fundamentals of organic chemistry with a focus on theoretical principles and general concepts.  Topics that are of particular importance in the study of wood chemistry will be emphasized including acid/base chemistry, nucleophilic substitution reactions, electrophilic aromatic substitution reactions, elimination and oxidative chemistry.

A-6121 Pulping and Bleaching Chemistry
The conversion of wood into either chemical or mechanical pulps is accomplished in a modern pulp mill via a series of inter-connected chemical reactions. In addition, many modern environmental regulations and pulp processing technologies are based upon these chemical principals. This course focuses on developing an understanding of the fundamen­tal chemistry associated with pulping and bleaching of wood. The subject material encompasses: (1) the detailed analysis of the chemical structure of the major wood components, (2) the nature and scope of the reactions of pulping and bleaching reagents with typical carbohydrate and lignin functional groups, and (3) the un­derlying factors which explain differences in the degree of lignin vs. carbo­hydrate degradation during pulping and bleaching stages. The focus is on alkaline/NaSH pulping and ClO2, H2O2, O2/NaOH, O3 bleaching chemistry of chemical and mechanical pulps.

A-6223 Advanced Pulping and Bleaching Chemistry
The course will take an in-depth look at the chemistry associated with pulping and bleaching.  Particular attention will paid to the detailed proofs of the chemistries associated with lignin and carbohydrate fragmentation mechanisms. A special emphasis is placed on the chemical nature of residual lignin in kraft pulps and the influence of residual lignin on pulp bleachability by:



 

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