Faculty Stories: Richard Jarman

Jim Allen

Program: Chemistry

When he was in elementary school, Richard Jarman used to read a chemistry book that his father used when he was in college.

"There weren't any video games back then," he said. ""I'm not really sure what it was that interested me about it, but I realized I had an affinity for the subject."

The industrious student started a chemical "company" when I was in high school that lasted about six months. His love of chemistry continued at Oxford, where he finished his Ph.D. He completed a post-doctoral at Exxon in New Jersey and then worked at Amoco Research Center in Naperville for 10 years.

After that, he ran his own business growing laser crystals for about eight years. It was during this time that he started teaching as an adjunct at COD.

"I never thought I had the right personality to be a teacher, but I found there to be a similarity between acting, which I enjoy, and teaching – as if your class is the scene partner," Jarman explained. "Beyond that, there is no finer reward than to contribute a little to the success of others and share in their glory."

Jarman also enjoys removing the fear of chemistry from his students.

"Chemistry is actually interesting, important and relevant – and not scary like most of them think," he said. "There's also more to education than A's and B's."

He remembers his own chemistry teacher as a role mode and hopes students view him the same way. Jarman also draws inspiration from others.

"A then-young Peter Atkins seduced me with brilliantly evocative lectures (for a while it seemed I understood stuff). But if I had a hero from the world of science it would be Faraday."

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