François G. Amar

Professor of Chemistry and Honors faculty
Member of the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education

255 Aubert Hall
207.581.1196
207.581.1191
Email François Amar

Research:

I specialize in theoretical and computational chemistry with an emphasis on the dynamics of clusters and other nanoscale systems and on problems related to biofuel catalysis. I also work in the area of Chemical Education Research with interests in lab curriculum, active learning strategies for large introductory courses, using analogies to connect the macro- and micro-scale, and the use of gesture and other modalities in learning.

Below are a few of my specific interests:

  • InterChemNet: the University of Maine Chemistry Department’s program for integrated delivery and assessment of curriculum materials in General Chemistry includes access to advanced instrumentation.
  • Peer Led Team Learning: UMaine Chemistry’s adoption of PLTL is one of the largest in the country affecting about 1000 students each year.
  • Use of analogical reasoning activities in the chemistry lab curriculum to help students connect macroscopic chemical observations to molecular scale ideas about chemical phenomena.

Selected recent publications:

The College” as an Emergent Global Form: One Experience at Starting a Trans-National College-to-College Relationship, Catelijne Coopmans, Gregory Clancey, François G. Amar, in Honors Education in Transition: Vol II. Continuity and Innovation in Honors College Curricula, Glover, Robert W. and Katherine O’Flaherty, Eds, Rowman and Littlefield, 2016.

Polymers and Cross-Linking: A CORE Experiment To Help Students Think on the Sub- microscopic Level, Mitchell R.M. Bruce, Alice E. Bruce, Shirly Avargil, François G. Amar, Thomas M. Wemyss, and Virginia J. Flood, Journal of Chemical Education, 93(9), 1599-1605 (2016).

Leveraging the Research Capacity of the Doctoral University for Honors Education: the Research Collaborative Model, François G. Amar, Mark Haggerty, Melissa Ladenheim, Linda Silka, John Jemison, Honors in Higher Education: Proceedings from HERU Vol 1, Issue 1, 2016. Online at journals.psu.edu/heru.

Students’ Understanding of Analogy in a CORE (Chemical Observations, Representations, Experimentation) Learning Cycle, General Chemistry Experiment, Shirly Avargil, Mitchell R.M. Bruce, François G. Amar, Alice Bruce, Journal of Chemical Education 92(10), 1626-1638 (2015).

The influence of zinc(II) on thioredoxin/glutahtine disulfide exchange: QM/MM studies to explore how zinc(II) accelerates exchange in higher dielectric environments, Roby Kurian, Mitchell R.M. Bruce, Alice E. Bruce, and François G. Amar, Metallomics, 7, 1265-1273 (2015).

Paying Attention to Gesture when Students Talk Chemistry: Interactional Resources for Responsive Teaching, Virginia J. Flood, François G. Amar, Ricardo Nemirovsky, Benedikt W. Harrer, Mitchell R.M. Bruce, Michael C. Wittmann, Journal of Chemical Education 92(1), 11-22 (2015).

Whispering Gallery Mode Emission Generated in Tunable Quantum Dot Doped Glycerol/Water and Ionic Liquid/Water Microdroplets Formed on a Superhydrophobic Coating, E. Nuhiji, F.G. Amar, H. Wang, N. Byrne ,T-L Nguyen, and T. Lin, Journal of Materials Chemistry 21(29),10823-10828 (2011).

Mechanism of Hydrodeoxygenation of Acrolein on a Cluster Model of MoO3, D. Moberg, T. Thibodeau, F.G. Amar, B.G. Frederick, Journal of Physical Chemistry C 114, 13782-13795 (2010).

Using the workshop model for modular, student-centered leader training, Amar, F., Stewart, B.N., Fortin, H., Bruce, M.R.M. (2009). Progressions: The Peer-Led Team Learning Project Newsletter, Volume 10, Number 3, Spring. Online at www.pltl.org.

Four Leader Training Modules for PLTL: Getting started; Group Development; Communication; Mattering and Marginality. Amar, F., Fortin, H., Bruce, M.R.M. (2009). Progressions: The Peer-Led Team Learning Project Newsletter, Volume 10, Number 3, Spring. Online at www.pltl.org.

Four Faculty Guides for PLTL training modules: Getting started; Group Development; Communication; Mattering and Marginality. Amar, F., Fortin, H., Bruce, M.R.M. (2009). Progressions: The Peer-Led Team Learning Project Newsletter, Volume 10, Number 3,

Selected recent invited talks:

New Directors Institute, co-facilitator, National Collegiate Honors Council, virtual workshop, July 13-14, 2020.

No Pre-reqs: facilitating a discussion of American Character by Colin Woodard, Orono Public Library, May 9, 2020.

No Pre-reqs: facilitating a discussion of Just Mercy by Brian Stevenson, Orono Public Library, April 30, 2019, with Margo Lukens.

New Directors Institute Workshop, co-facilitator, National Collegiate Honors Council, Lincoln, Nebraska, July 10-13, 2016.

The New Astronomy and Galileo’s Logical Imagination, François G. Amar, invited lecture at the Maine Masonic College’s 6th Annual Celebration of the Arts and Sciences, Bangor, Maine, April 23, 2016.

Striving and Thriving in Honors: Professional Incentives for Honors Deans and Directors, François G. Amar and Naomi Yavneh Klos, a workshop presented to Honors deans & directors, 2015 NCHC Conference, Chicago, IL, November 12, 2015.

Creativity in Science and Art, François G. Amar, Master’s Tea Presentation, Tembusu College, National University of Singapore, March 30, 2015.

Effective University of Maine System Community Partnerships: the Sustainable Food Systems Research Collaborative, François Amar, Melissa Ladenheim, Kate Sheridan, University Maine System Community Engagement Summit, March 19, 2015.

Modeling the filling of methane in heterogeneous pore networks, François G. Amar, Brian G. Frederick, Kelsie York, and Rachel Pollock, 248th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Francisco, CA, August 13, 2014.

Embodied Imagining of Chemical Phenomena, François G. Amar, Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, September 13, 2012.

Gesture analysis of chemical explanations: Studentsí embodied apprehension of molecular scale phenomena, François G. Amar, Virginia Flood, Thomas Wemyss, Ricardo Nemirovsky, Mitchell R. M. Bruce, Michael C. Wittmann, Conference on Transforming Research in Undergraduate STEM Education (TRUSE) II, St Thomas University, St. Paul, MN, June 27, 2012.

Selected recent presentations and posters

Big Hearts, Big Minds: Learning Leadership Through an International Community-Engaged Project, François G. Amar, Melissa Ladenheim, Stephen Kaplan, Avery Gosselin, on-demand virtual presentation, National Collegiate Honors Conference, Fall 2020. Online at nchc20.secure-platform.com/a/gallery/rounds/2/details/537.

Disruptive Joy: Ideas that Thrill Students and Faculty, Kirsten Bartels, Kristine Miller, François Amar, D. Bowers, Jeffrey Chamberlain, a panel presented at 2019 NCHC Conference, New Orleans, LA, November 9, 2019.

Research Collaboratives for the 21st Century, François G. Amar and Melissa Ladenheim, presented at the 4th Honors Education at Research Universities (HERU) Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 20-22, 2019.

Scaling Research Opportunities at Large Research Universities: Possibilities and Pitfalls, François G. Amar, Robert Kirby, Sally Molloy, Sylvia Torti, with Jonathan Kotinek, a panel presented at 2018 NCHC Conference, Boston, MA, November 9, 2018.

Knowledge to Action: Tackling Challenges in Sierra Leone through an Honors Research Collaborative, François G. Amar, Allie DellaMattera, Gene Herrschaft, Melissa Ladenheim, and Grace Pouliot, 52nd Annual National Collegiate Honors Council Conference, Atlanta, GA, November 8-12, 2017.

Student Orientation and Reorientation Throughout the Honors Curriculum, François G. Amar, Sean Cox, Jean Loden, Kristine Miller, and Belle Zembrodt, 52nd Annual National Collegiate Honors Council Conference, Atlanta, GA, November 8-12, 2017.

Collaborative, Interdisciplinary Work Throughout the Honors Curriculum, François G. Amar and Kristine Miller, 3rd Honors Education in Research Universities (HERU) Conference, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, May 24-26, 2017.

The Honors Collegiate Way: Excellence, Innovation, and Engagement, François G. Amar, 2nd Collegiate Way International Conference, Canberra, Australia , November 13-17, 2016.

Colleges Partnering Across the Globe: The Tembusu College and University of Maine Honors College Experience, François G. Amar and Greg Clancey, 2nd Collegiate Way International Conference, Canberra, Australia, November 13-17, 2016.

Making Big Plans: Building a Sustainable Food Systems Collaborative through Courses, Research, and Community Engagement, Alan Bennett, François Amar, Mark Haggerty, Melissa Ladenheim, Danielle Walczak, Presentation at the 2015 Conference of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Chicago, IL November 12-15, 2015.

Leveraging the Research Capacity of the Doctoral University for Honors Education: The ‘Research Collaborative’ Model, François Amar, Mark Haggerty, and Melissa Ladenheim, Honors Education at Research Universities, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, May 18-19, 2015.

Examining Student Analogical Reasoning in Introductory Chemistry Laboratory, Mitchell Bruce, Shirly Avargil, Alice Bruce, and François Amar, 249th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Denver, CO, United States, March 24, 2015.

Partnering Across the Globe: The University of Maine and Tembusu College Experience, François G. Amar, Kate Pouliot, and Laura Donovan, with Chris Paradis, Emma Oppewall, Greg Clancey and Catelijne Coopmans, 49th Annual National Collegiate Honors Council Conference, Denver CO, November 5-9, 2014.

Promoting Honors Undergraduate Research, Mark Haggerty, Melissa Ladenheim, François Amar, and Danielle Walczak, 49th Annual National Collegiate Honors Council Conference, Denver CO, November 5-9, 2014.

The Sustainable Food Systems Research Collaborative: From Research to Application, Mark Haggerty, Melissa Ladenheim, François Amar, John Jemison, Stephanie Welcomer, and Linda Silka, The Hunger Dialogues Conference, University of Maine, October 16, 2014.

CORE learning cycle: Anchoring analogical reasoning to the laboratory experience, Mitchell Bruce, Shirly Avargil, François Amar, and Alice Bruce, 2014 Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI, August 3, 2014.

Collaboration and Innovation: The University of Maine’s Sustainable Food Systems Research Collaborative, Mark Haggerty, François G. Amar, John Jemison, Melissa Ladenheim, Linda Silka, Stephanie Welcomer, Shannon Brenner, Collaboration and Innovation Across the Food System, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, June 18-22, 2014.

Using Laboratory Centered Analogies to Enhance Student Understanding of Chemical Concepts at the Molecular Level, M. Bruce, S. Avargil, F.G. Amar, J. Shemwell, A. Bruce, NARST International Conference, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, April 7, 2013.

Analogy/learning cycle labs used in introductory chemistry, Mitchell R.M. Bruce, François G. Amar, Shahram Firouzian, Tommy M. Wemyss, Alice Bruce, Michael Wittmann, (oral presentation 243rdnational meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Diego, March 26, 2012.

Paying attention to gesture in chemistry explanations. What does it tell us?, F.G. Amar, V. Flood, R. Nemirovsky, M. Bruce, and M. Wittmann, (oral presentation) 243rd national meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Diego, March 26, 2012.

Simulating gold nanocluster collisions using a two-temperature model, F.G. Amar and C. Goodwin, (poster) 243rd national meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Diego, March 26, 2012.