Foundation Coursework in Undergraduate Inorganic Chemistry: Results from a National Survey of Inorganic Chemistry Faculty

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A national survey of inorganic chemists explored the self-reported topics covered in foundation-level courses in inorganic chemistry at the postsecondary level the American Chemical Society's Committee on Professional Training defines a foundation course as one at the conclusion of which, "a student should have mastered the vocabulary, concepts, and skills required to pursue in-depth study in that area." Anecdotal evidence suggested that more than one type of Inorganic Chemistry Foundation course was offered in the undergraduate chemistry curriculum. Cluster analysis confirmed this evidence, revealing four distinct foundation courses, each with unique profiles of topics covered. Faculty reported changes in content coverage over the past five years that mirror the evolving foci of inorganic chemistry research. These results potentially complicate how graduate programs evaluate incoming students' understanding of inorganic chemistry and the design of national assessments of undergraduate inorganic chemistry courses.