Chemistry professor Dr. Adam Moser is a well-known professor on campus, likely because he takes on the general chemistry class with 100+ students every fall semester. Since so many majors in a variety of scientific fields require this introduction to chemistry as part of their major, Dr. Moser gets to interact with a large chunk of the Loras population just through this one course. While general chemistry is often the only course students will take with Dr. Moser, chances are, they’ll remember him. Whether it’s the course’s online homework program (ALEKS), his notoriously difficult exams (with generous curves), or the daily and consistent preparation for class, students learn how to work hard in general chemistry. And while his students feel like they have to work hard, Dr. Moser works even harder to make sure his students are getting the support and learning outcomes they need. Here’s a little bit about Dr. Moser and his unending dedication to Loras College and all the students at this institution—not just his chemistry students.
What time do you start your day, and what do your mornings tend to look like?
“Every morning is identical. I get up, get ready, and then get my kids ready to go to daycare. I have to get up pretty early, because once my kids are up, I’m focused on them. I have to make sure that’s all done so I can get [to Loras] by 8 a.m.”
What does a typical day in your office look like?
“The only times I really get to work are before 8:30 a.m. and after 4:30 p.m. During the day I’m either in a class, with a student, or with other faculty – either in a formal meeting or informal discussion. I think the faculty here are pretty connected, so there’s a lot of things we get each other’s feedback on.”
“Class prep time depends on the class. Since I try to teach in an active style, I have a lot of prep work because there’s a lot of material. I have to make sure the online homework, the powerpoints, and worksheets are all consistent, and that the learning outcomes are fulfilled. I have to write the daily quizzes and reading guidances, and make sure they match the rest of the material. Then I have to photocopy, which isn’t difficult; it just takes time.”
What are some projects or committees you’re a part of here at Loras?
“Committees are one way the faculty and staff serve the college. I really like thinking about curriculum, so I’m on the curriculum committee. This committee oversees any new course that will be taught. It’s also no secret that the general education curriculum is changing, and I was on the first committee that started reviewing that gen. ed. program. I also took over as the chemistry/biochemistry program director for our retired biochemistry professor, Dr. Speckhard. I’m also on a technology committee that only meets when we have something to talk about, such as: what laptops should we use next year? There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes to make sure everything is taken care of for students.”
What research are you currently working on?
“Research is the area I’m having the hardest time carving out time in my day to become more involved. I would like to get back to doing more research for myself. I’m interested in how people’s psychology affects their success. I am doing research and gathering data on how people’s attitudes and successes are (or are not) connected. Of course, I have research students, so I’m constantly reading drafts, meeting with them, and giving feedback. I have a research student who is working on a project to implement computational worksheets into organic chemistry. Then I have more purely science-orientated research projects: how water affects solutes in solution and benchmarking functional density theory.”
What time do you generally leave Loras in the evenings, and what do your evenings generally entail?
“Sometime between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., people are done coming to see me. I’ll work until 5 p.m., go home, play with my kids, and make dinner. Then, from 8-10 p.m., I’ll grade, respond to more emails, and do any more prep I need to do for the next day. I easily put in 50-60 hours of work a week, but I don’t burn out. This job is my vocation: this is what I want to do, what I like to do, and ultimately, I want to do my job and do it well.”