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Project Involving Prof. Hilary Eppley, Aiming to Improve Chemistry Education, Receives $1.1 Million NSF Grant

Project Involving Prof. Hilary Eppley, Aiming to Improve Chemistry Education, Receives $1.1 Million NSF Grant

August 10, 2017

Hilary E. Eppley, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at DePauw University, is among a team of chemistry educators from a variety of colleges and universities to be awarded a $1.1 million dollar grant by the National Science Foundation. The monies will fund the project, "Collaborative research: Improving inorganic chemistry education through a community-developed student-centered curriculum."

Dr. Eppley is a member of the Interactive Online Network of Inorganic Chemists (IONiC), a community dedicated to advancing inorganic chemistry education. She is among eleven faculty members at primarily undergraduate institutions across the United States who, among other things, develop faculty development workshops, and run a curricular repository and online community for chemistry educators called VIPEr (the Virtual Inorganic Pedagogical Electronic Resource).

LGL8398The NSF grant will fund a study which is designed to "provide insight into challenges faculty face as they adopt active-learning teaching strategies and the level of the support necessary to effect 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, (they) will generate data on how changes in the classroom affect student learning."

The educators note, "Inorganic chemistry is critical to solving many societal issues in STEM. Improving student learning and interest in inorganic chemistry hinges on faculty adopting teaching strategies that engage and encourage students to continue in STEM."

In addition to Eppley, IONiC members are: Joanne L. Stewart (Hope College), Anne K. Bentley (Lewis and Clark College), Sheila R. Smith (University of Michigan), Nancy S. Williams (The Claremont Colleges Keck Science Department), Barbara A. Reisner (James Madison University), Jeffrey R. Raker (University of South Florida), Elizabeth R. Jamieson (Smith College), Adam R. Johnson (Harvey Mudd College), Chip Nataro (Lafayette College), and Lori A. Watson (Earlham College).

NSF recently awarded DePauw University a $210,000 grant for "CC* Network Design: Network Infrastructure for Improved Student Engagement in Science Discovery and Innovation," a project that will enhance cyberinfrastructure and internet connectivity on the campus. Read more here.