Professor Robert J. Gilliard and a group of workshop participants stand on the steps of a brick building.

Gilliard headlines 2023 IONiC VIPEr Workshop

Categories: Events, Faculty, Research

The NSF workshop focused on the use of VIPEr as a resource for teaching and engagement with the Interactive Online Network of Inorganic Chemists community.

Professor Robert J. Gilliard, Jr. recently served as the featured speaker at the 2023 IONiC VIPEr Workshop, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), that supports the improvement of inorganic chemistry education through a community-developed, student-centered curriculum. 

IONiC – Interactive Online Network of Inorganic Chemists – serves as a vibrant virtual community of practice for over 3000 faculty members at institutions across the world. IONiC aims to advance teaching of inorganic chemistry in the classroom and laboratory through developing and disseminating evidence-based best practices for instruction. IONiC is the creator of VIPEr, the Virtual Inorganic Pedagogical Electronic Resource, a repository of over 1200 chemistry teaching materials, and supports multiple user-friendly platforms for social networking that facilitate virtual collaboration and community building. IONiC membership and VIPEr materials are free and available to all faculty.

During the workshop, held at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD from June 28 – July 1, faculty participants from across the country created and contributed new literature discussion materials to VIPEr based on Gilliard’s work. The Gilliard Lab is a pioneer in contemporary main group chemistry, engaging in energy-relevant chemical synthesis at the interface of inorganic and organic chemistry that impacts the discovery of new chemical reagents and the design of redox-active and/or luminescent molecular materials.

“One of my goals has been to make main-group chemistry mainstream, particularly in the United States where it is often not discussed in detail in college and university courses,” said Gilliard. “We have made significant progress over the last several years and when I was asked to serve as the subject matter expert for the IONiC VIPEr workshop I thought it would be an excellent platform to help educate the broader inorganic chemistry community. It was an honor to have our science featured and the enthusiasm from the participants and organizers made the event a tremendous success. I am excited to see main-group chemistry course content incorporated into undergraduate and graduate curricula across the country and beyond.”

“IONiC’s community-building workshop at host institution Morgan State University was a great success in generating new teaching materials that bring cutting-edge chemistry into the undergraduate inorganic chemistry classroom,” said Professor Joanne Stewart of Hope College, principal investigator of the NSF grant that supported the event. “ Workshop expert Professor Robert Gilliard generously shared his chemistry and his time with workshop participants who are now firmly “encoiled” in the IONiC/VIPEr community.”

MIT alum Shirley Lin (SB ‘95), a former UROP student of Professor Richard R. Schrock, and now a professor of chemistry at the U.S. Naval Academy, was one of the workshop co-organizers and serves as a member of the IONiC Leadership Council.