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Pomona College Courses Receive National Recognition

Three Pomona College courses have been recognized for their excellence in a national study conducted by the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) on behalf of the College Board. The College Board will use these courses to inform the redesign of Advanced Placement courses, ultimately affecting AP courses across the nation.

  • “General Physics I” and “General Physics II,” taught by Professor Thomas Moore was selected as an “exemplary practice” course from a total of 139 courses from across the nation that were reviewed. This is the highest designation awarded, and only a very few courses in the study met this standard of distinction and excellence.
  • “Introduction to Environmental Studies,” taught by Richard Hazlett, the Stephen M. Pauley M.D. Professor of Environmental Studies, was identified as one of the top examples of best practices among 53 courses from across the nation and also designated an “exemplary practice” course by a panel of national experts in environmental science.
  • “Accelerated General Chemistry” was identified as an example of best practices from a total of 166 courses nationwide. The course was developed and first taught in 1988 by Carnegie Professor of Chemistry Wayne Steinmetz. Since that time, it has been taught by other members of the Chemistry Department, including Professor Roberto Garza-Lopez, who provided the College Board with a detailed description of the course.

To identify best practices college courses, CEPR assembled panels of national experts in each area to analyze top courses from a wide range of institutions. The panel reviewed the nominated courses and identified the critical components of best practices present in each course. The College Board then convened a commission in each area to develop new AP course descriptions, new AP exam specifications, and professional development guidelines for AP teachers. The commission, which is meeting over the current academic year, will utilize the study’s findings as a key resource to fulfill its charge of emphasizing proper content focus and “more importantly, [ensuring] the crucial attitudes and skills necessary to thrive in a college classroom are systematically developed.” The result will be courses that closely reflect the best practices of college courses.

Pomona College, one of the nation’s premier liberal arts institutions, offers a comprehensive program in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research.