The Raker Research Group, in collaboration with the Leadership Council of the Interactive Online Network of Inorganic Chemists, has received funding to transform undergraduate inorganic chemistry education at 60 postsecondary institutions over the next five years! Collaborative sites include Hope College (Lead Institution) and James Madison University. Faculty collaborators at the University of Michigan - Dearborn, Lewis & Clark College, Keck Sciences - Claremont Colleges, Harvey Mudd College, Earlham College, DePauw University, Lafayette College, and Smith College.
NSF Abstract (DUE-1726133): "Increasing undergraduate student interest in science and improving their learning of science is a national priority. Both outcomes hinge on large-scale changes in college science teaching, so that more instructors use active learning strategies that engage and encourage students. This project focuses on inorganic chemistry, a course that most chemistry majors take in their third year. The project will use a well-established, nation-wide community of faculty, developed with prior NSF support, to build a modular framework that promotes the use of active learning strategies in inorganic chemistry courses. In addition, new curricular materials based on the latest advances in inorganic chemistry research will be developed and shared on the community website: www.ionicviper.org. During this work, the investigators will study the type and amount of support that instructors need to adopt active learning practices, as well as the impact of those changes on student learning in inorganic chemistry. This project has the potential to find specific strategies and general principles for improving STEM faculty teaching, which could be applied to other courses and disciplines. The impact of the improved curriculum and teaching effectiveness also aims to increase the number of undergraduates who have the tools and critical thinking skills needed to be successful chemists.
The knowledge generated by this project will provide insight into the challenges faculty face as they adopt active-learning teaching strategies and the level of the support necessary to effect and sustain change in teaching practices. This project will help identify how a professional community of practice can initiate, enable, and sustain faculty change. Through classroom observations, analysis of student work, surveys of students, and interviews with faculty, the project will generate data on how changes in the classroom affect student learning. It will contribute to the body of evidence for promoting faculty change by evaluating how to encourage the adoption of evidence-based classroom practices. The products of this project will include: 1) 60 new syllabi, with related course materials, for a foundation-level inorganic chemistry course with content coverage drawn from core inorganic chemistry topics, 2) new knowledge on the impact of communities of practice on faculty change, and 3) improved student learning in inorganic chemistry."