Dr. Kevin Kolack

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Office: S-408

Office hours/review sessions: Mon & Wed 11:10-noon, and Thurs 10:10-11AM all in S408 AND simultaneously online (Thurs online only) (use link for day of the week)

Phone: 718-281-5037

Fax: 718-281-5078

Email: kkolack@qcc.cuny.edu

Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire
The online MSLQ is located here.

Education

  • Ph.D., Inorganic Chemistry
    1997, Indiana University
  • B.S., Chemistry, with distinction
    1991, The University of Virginia

Students, please visit your class Blackboard page for class-specific information.

For chemistry tips, apps, etc., visit my resources page and the department's useful links page.

And check out this page for scientists who look like you.

Bio

Dr. Kevin Kolack is a tenured doctoral lecturer at Queensborough Community College - City University of New York. Kevin earned a B.S. in chemistry at The University of Virginia guided by the legendary Frank Carey, and a Ph.D. at Indiana University in the research group of Distinguished Professor George Christou. The winner of the 2021 American Chemical Society New York Section Outstanding 2-year College Chemistry Teaching Award, Professor Kolack joined the full-time faculty at QCC after 13 years as an adjunct professor at The Cooper Union as well as time at St. Joseph's College, Yeshiva University, and Hunter College - CUNY. The English-language editor of more than 400 peer-reviewed publications, Professor K has more than 30 years of college teaching experience and a highly eclectic background including a reasonably successful acting career, 10 years as a firefighter/EMT, licenses for New York City taxi, ambulance, fire truck and helicopter, professional puppeteer experience, training as a fire eater, he competed at the Olympic level in smallbore rifle, and he really enjoys indoor skydiving in a vertical wind tunnel. Dr. Kolack is the lead author of the 3rd-5th editions of "Introductory General Chemistry Experiments" and also wrote and starred in “The Professor K Show,” a topical, environmental educational TV program.  Dr. Kolack and his amazing wife Diane (a graduate of the CUNY Baccalaureate in Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies program and the CUNY School of Public Health) and incredible son live in Queens, where Kevin was hit by a 79,000 pound crane on his way to the 2015 QCC graduation, and where he narrowly escaped death again in 2023 when, ironically, a nurse at Elmhurst hospital made the mistake Professor K has talked about on the first day of every class he has taught since the 1990s.

Teaching Philosophy

My goals in teaching are to enable students to understand the material and put it into practice in the laboratory, to help them improve their ability to communicate their understanding to peers and others, and to encourage them to use their education as a springboard for furthering a critical understanding of the world.

Over my 30+ years of teaching- long before "student-centered learning" became a pedagogical catchphrase- I have endeavored to produce an interactive environment that is more than a teacher-centered lecture, whether instructing 250 students at once in a large lecture hall (which we do not use in the chemistry department at QCC), or in the small seminar classes, laboratories, and one-to-one tutoring sessions I’ve held. Based on written evaluations, through my use of technology, real-world examples, and topical references, and by asking questions to be answered orally and in writing during each class, I have been successful in my goals, which appear to fit well within the CUNY Lifting New York 2023-2030 Strategic Roadmap.

Through the Echols Scholar program during my undergraduate years at The University of Virginia, I was able to design my own course of study, enabling me to couple a BS in Chemistry with economics, philosophy, and advanced studies in Eastern Religions. (My wife was fortunate enough to take part in a similar program at CUNY, and I strongly encourage QCC students interested in such a program to discuss CUNY BA with me.) I continued my multidisciplinary studies in graduate school at Indiana University, transitioning from my organic undergraduate major guided by Frank Carey (with a medical school organic chemistry undergraduate research project and a physical chemistry senior thesis with Ian Harrison) to an inorganic Ph.D. with George Christou, while also auditing courses in Tibetan language and patent law, becoming a firefighter-EMT-Hazardous Materials Technician and firefighter instructor, and taking performance classes in New York and Chicago. In my first class every semester, I encourage my students to really question why they have chosen their course of study, and how it could be better tailored to suit their needs. My aim is for them to learn something, rather than for them to view their classes as merely a means to an end, or their grades as the product they purchase with their tuition.

Especially in my laboratory courses, I have the reputation for pushing students to challenge themselves with written assignments, as I firmly believe that in our culture, how your ideas are expressed is often (for better or worse) of equal importance to their content. In small seminar classes and labs, I am also able to have students describe topics and techniques orally, for which there is no better substitute to gauge full understanding of the material.

I am a strong believer in the use of technology in the classroom, and make extensive use of cutting-edge instructional techniques in my lecture courses.

Courses Taught

  • CH106L - Chemistry and the Arts Laboratory
  • CH110 - Chemistry and the Environment (course coordinator)
  • CH111 - Chemistry and the Environment Lab (course coordinator)
  • CH120 - Fundamentals of Chemistry
  • CH127 - Introductory General Chemistry (course co-coordinator)
  • CH127L - Introductory Gen. Chem. Lab (course co-coordinator)
  • CH128 - Introductory Organic Chemistry
  • CH128L - Introductory Organic Chem. Lab
  • CH151 - General Chemistry I
  • CH151L - General Chem. I Lab
  • CH152- General Chemistry II

  • General Chemistry 1 & 2 (Indiana University, The Cooper Union)
  • General Chemistry 1 & 2 Laboratory (Indiana University, The Cooper Union, Yeshiva University)
  • Introductory General Chemistry for Health Professionals (Hunter College)
  • Chemistry and the Environment (Indiana University)
  • Organic Chemistry Laboratory (The Cooper Union, Yeshiva University)
  • Analytical Chemistry Laboratory with lecture (The Cooper Union)

 

Presentations

Kolack, K. Fostering a growth mindset to increase student success. CUNY Professional Development Conference, City University of New York. November 9, 2023.

Kolack, K. How to succeed in chemistry courses, QCC academic success workshop, Oct 11, 2023.

Kolack, K. Development of an open educational resource (OER) laboratory manual for nonmajors Chemistry and the Environment. Spring Student Symposium - OER Showcase. Queensborough Community College. May 5, 2023.

Kolack, K. Resiliency and growth mindset. Program for Research Initiatives in Science and Math, John Jay College. April 18, 2023.

Kolack, K. Moving an introductory environmental chemistry course online using the American Chemical Society's "Chemistry in Context": Updated, ACS-NY Environmental Chemistry Symposium, Queens, NY, November 19, 2022.

Kolack, K.; Counihan, B. Getting started with mindset GPS at QCC, QCC Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning & the CUNY Innovative Teaching Academy & the QCC Academic Development Committee, November 2, 2022.

Kolack, K. Social belonging and student success: Balancing equity with mandating the use of cameras and other engagement tools in online courses, Bronx EdTech Showcase, May 6, 2022.

Kolack, K.; Tarafdar, M.; Cercone, A.; Thompson, E.; Ulrich, M.; Smith, K-A.; Traver, A.; Peluso, C.; Strauss, S. Connecting coursework to career: Integrating career competencies into the course curriculum, QCC Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning & Office of Career Services workshop, May 5, 2022.

Kolack, K.; Cupelli, L.; Khomyak, N.; Shameem, M.; Wallach, P.; Peyer, V. Hybrid/Hyflex, QCC Faculty Pedagogy Showcase, Oct 27, 2021.

Kolack, K. Teach remotely like a boss, New England Association of Chemistry Teachers, Malden, MA, August 3, 2021.

Kolack, K. Moving an introductory environmental chemistry course online using the American Chemical Society's "Chemistry in Context", CUNY Conference on Climate Change Education, Queens, NY, April 23, 2021.

Kolack, K. Tips for teaching from home more comfortably, and catching cheaters without torturing the rest of the class (or yourself) too much, QCC Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning seminar, Queens, NY, April 7, 2021.

Kolack, KPlatforms for academic integrity: Tracking students with Google and Chegg, American Chemical Society's New York Section webinar, Queens, NY, March 24, 2021.

Kolack, KOvercoming challenges in a virtual teaching environment. 7th annual QCC faculty development retreat, Feb 12, 2021.

Kolack, K. How to succeed in chemistry courses, QCC academic success workshop, Feb 19, 2020.

Kolack, K. How to succeed in chemistry courses, QCC academic success workshop, Oct 2, 2019.

Bejar, D.; Persaud, A.; Carpenay, C.; Kolack, K.; D'Arista, U.; Molloy, J. Actively Engaging Students Using Blackboard's Building Blocks and LTIs (SoftChalk, VoiceThread, and PlayPosIt), Northeast Connect Conference: Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century, Bronx, NY, Nov 10, 2017.

Kolack, K. Perspectives on an Online Chemistry Course: The Beginning and the End, 217th Conference of the Two Year College Chemistry Consortium, American Chemical Society: Division of Chemical Education, Bronx, NY, May 26-27, 2017.

Kolack, K. A new chemistry experiment: Implementation of a partially online chemistry course for allied health majors at Queensborough Community College, 44th Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Bronx, NY, June 9-12, 2016.

 

Awards

CUNY Mindset Community Builder, 2024

CUNY Mindset Associate, 2023

CUNY Mindset Fellow, 2023

American Chemical Society, New York Section, 2-year College Chemistry Teaching Award, 2022

CUNY Mindset Ambassador, 2022

 

Publications


Silverio, D.L, Villa-Cuesta, E., Hyslop, A., Kolack, K., and Sobel, S.G. We have more in common than we think: A comparison of scientific skills and disciplinary practices in the guiding documents for Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics. J. Coll. Sci. Teach. Accepted July 2023. In press.

Resko, J., Kolack, K., Ulrich, M., Byas, T. Community College Student Perceptions of Faculty-Led Office Hours. Comm. Coll. J. Res. Prac., 2023. https://doi.org/10.1080/10668926.2023.2292095

Sonbuchner, T.; et.al. (Kolack, K.- Thanks) Reconnecting Students and Faculty to Maximize Academic Integrity and Minimize Student Stress in the Virtual Classroom. J. Microbio. Bio. Educ., 2022https://doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.00080-22

Kolack, K.; Kornblum, Z.; Lay, M.; Newmark, A.; LaRue, R.; Topper, R.; Vairavapandian, D.; Vichchulada, P.; Wiener, S. The Official Cooper Union General Chemistry Laboratory Guide, 8th-23rd ed.; Cooper Union, 2003-2022.

Kolack, K.; Svoronos, P.; Irigoyen, P. Introductory General Chemistry Laboratory Experiments, 5th ed.; Kendall-Hunt: Iowa, 2021.

Kolack, K.; Hemraj-Benny, T.; Chauhan, M. Community College Chemistry Instruction and Research in the Time of COVID-19. J. Chem. Ed., 2020, 97 (9), 2889-2894. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.0c00700

Kolack, K.; Svoronos, P.; Irigoyen, P. Introductory General Chemistry Laboratory Experiments, 4th ed.; Kendall-Hunt: Iowa, 2019.

Kolack, K.; Svoronos, P.; Irigoyen, P. Introductory General Chemistry Laboratory Experiments, 3rd ed.; Kendall-Hunt: Iowa, 2017.

Tawde, M.; Boccio, D.; Kolack, K. Resolving Misconceptions through Student Reflections. J. Coll. Sci. Teach., 2017, 47 (1), 12.

Flowers, P.; et.al. (Kolack, K.- Reviewer). OpenStax, Chemistry [Online]; OpenStax CNX, 2017; http://cnx.org/contents/85abf193-2bd2-4908-8563-90b8a7ac8df6@9.424.

Tawde, M.; Boccio, D.; Kolack, K. Resolving Misconceptions to Enhance Learning in Gateway STEM courses. J. Microbio. Bio. Educ., 2016, 16 (1), 119.

American Chemical Society. (Kolack, K.- Reviewer). Chemistry in Context, 2nd ed.; ACS: Washington, D.C., 2000.

Seela, J.; Knapp, M.; Kolack, K.; Chang, H.-R.; Huffman, J.; Hendrickson, D.; Christou, G. Structural and Magnetochemical Properties of Mono-, Di-, and Trinuclear Manganese(III) Dithiolate Complexes, Inorg. Chem., 1998, 37(3), 516-525.

Kolack, K. From biochemistry to molecular materials: a new perspective on transition metal carboxylates. Ph.D. Thesis, Indiana University, June 1997.

 

Presentations by students

Kaharee, N.; Kolack, K. Development and Deployment of an Online Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire. NY American Chemical Society 66th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, Queens, NY, May, 2018.

Certifications

ACUE-fosteringbelongingbadge.pngACUE badge for certification in effective college instruction Applying the Quality Matters rubric NYCTA_Graduate_Badge.png 

ACUE badge for designing student-centered courses ACUE badge for inspiring inquiry and lifelong learning

ACUE badge for inspiring active learning ACUE badge for creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment

Spring 2024 Teaching Schedule

Dr. Kolack's teaching schedule for the semester
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
8 am   CH110 D2
(asynchronous
online)
  CH111 D4
(asynchronous
online)
   
9 am  " "    
10 am " Office Hour
(online)
   
11 am Office Hour
(online & S-408)
Office Hour
(S408 & online)
CH127L E4B
(synchronous online)
   
12 pm CH151 X13B
(S412)
Club "    
1 pm " Hours "    
2 pm CH151 X13B
(S415)
   
3 pm "      
4 pm      
5 pm        
6 pm          
7 pm            
8 pm            

© 2013-2024 Dr. Kevin Kolack

Kolack written with periodic table symbols

Campus Cultural Centers

Kupferberg Holocaust Center exterior lit up at nightOpens in a new window
Kupferberg Holocaust Center Opens in a new window

The KHC uses the lessons of the Holocaust to educate current and future generations about the ramifications of unbridled prejudice, racism and stereotyping.

Russian Ballet performing at the Queensborough Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window
QPAC: Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window

QPAC is an invaluable entertainment company in this region with a growing national reputation. The arts at QPAC continues to play a vital role in transforming lives and building stronger communities.

Queensborough Art Gallery exterior in the afternoonOpens in a new window
QCC Art Gallery

The QCC Art Gallery of the City University of New York is a vital educational and cultural resource for Queensborough Community College, the Borough of Queens and the surrounding communities.