Russell, Arlene A.

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Young Hall 1037A
(310) 825-7570
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Short Biography

Arlene Russell received her B.Sc. (honors) degree in chemistry from the University of Toronto in 1966, her M.S. degree in organic chemistry from UCLA in 1968, and her Ph.D. degree in education from UCLA in 1984. She joined the instructional faculty in the Chemistry department in 1968. In 1999 she was appointed Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and in the Department of Education.


Arlene Russell is a tenured Senior Lecturer at UCLA in both the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and in the Department of Education. She has been active in Chemical Education for over 30 years. She was a co-PI on the Molecular Science Project under which the Calibrated Peer Review™ (CPR) program was developed. Since 1999, she has led more than 50 CPR workshops for over 700 faculty from community colleges through research universities and has implemented CPR in her own classes varying in size from 14 AP high school students to 320 UCLA freshmen. She has been involved in national assessment activities for 25 years as chair of the California Chemistry Diagnostic Test committee, which develops and validates a national test for placement of students in entry-level college chemistry courses and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Division of Chemical Education of the ACS. She is the director of the Lower Division Undergraduate Laboratory Program and teaches the range of general chemistry courses in this area. At the graduate level she teaches technical writing and a seminar in Issues in Teaching in Higher Education for science graduate students and post-docs who are planning on academic careers. As science director of the Science Teacher Education Program at UCLA, she co-teaches with Physics and Biology faculty the graduate science methods classes. She is the UCLA faculty director for the University of California Science Math Initiative, which is committed to increasing the number of highly qualified science and mathematics teachers in California. She is an elected member of the Executive Committee of the Division of Chemical Education and has served as program chair for the 12th and 19th Biennial Conferences in Chemical Education. Her work in science education has been recognized by awards from the New York Film and Television Association for excellence in science videotape production; the Smithsonian Institution for her educational innovation using technology, the Chemistry Manufacturing Association for her outstanding college chemistry teaching, and the UCLA Brian Copenhaver Award for Innovation for Teaching with Technology for the development and implementation of CPR.

Research Interest

Our research in science education involves the development and evaluation of technology-based instructional materials, innovative curriculum, and future faculty and pre-service teacher preparation. Current work in instructional materials focuses on the Calibrated Peer Review program . In our general chemistry program we are continually developing new inquiry-based laboratory assignments that foster critical thinking skills as they introduce students to the process of how chemistry is known. We are particularly interested in new assignments where there is no "right" answer either because the chemistry is unknown or the samples being analyzed are "authentic." Student data from these assignments often become the basis for publications. Preparing graduate students for academic careers is an important goal of graduate chemistry education. The objective of our seminar and research in this area is to provide our postdoctoral and graduate students with the most relevant knowledge and skills for them to be successful in their job searches and careers regardless of the balance between teaching and research in their chosen institution. The seminar is open to any science graduate student or postdoctoral fellow who is considering an academic career. The Science-Math Initiative is providing a rich set of data to study the support structures necessary in a research university to encourage and help talented math and science students enter the teaching profession. This research is critical to the national American Competitiveness Initiative .

Honors & Awards

  • Brian P. Copenhaver Award 
  • Chemical Manufacturing Association Responsible Care National Catalyst Award 
  • Award in recognition of "extraordinary teaching, leadership, guidance, and achievement in supporting Fresno students enrolled in UCCP Chemistry" 
  • Computerworld Smithsonian Award in Education and Academia 
  • WSO World Safety International Recognition Award 
  • Award for Superior Achievement in Doctoral Studies 
  • 24th International Film and Television Festival, N.Y. Bronze Award 
  • UCLA Academic Senate Departmental Instructional Improvement Award 
  • UCLA Alumni Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement in the Physical Sciences 
  • Distinguished Teaching Assistant