Great Expectations: Using an Analysis of Current Practices To Propose a Framework for the Undergraduate Inorganic Curriculum

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Inorganic Chemistry

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Amer Chemical Soc




We thank the inorganic chemistry faculty members who gave their time to complete the survey, the leadership of the ACS DIC and IONiC for providing the research team with contact information for the survey participants, and the CPT for providing historical documents. We also thank the members of the 2014 Inorganic Chemistry and 2016 Foundations of Inorganic Chemistry ACS Exam Committees for their work with identifying learning outcomes for an inorganic curriculum. We appreciate the comments that J. W. Gilje, L. Boisvert, and the members of the Leadership Council of IONIC provided during the preparation of this manuscript. This work was supported by NSF Grant DUE-1225792.


The undergraduate inorganic chemistry curriculum in the United States mirrors the broad diversity of the inorganic research community and poses a challenge for the development of a coherent curriculum that is thorough, rigorous, and engaging. A recent large survey of the inorganic community has provided information about the current organization and content of the inorganic curriculum from an institutional level. The data reveal shared "core" concepts that are broadly taught, with tremendous variation in content coverage beyond these central ideas. The data provide an opportunity for a community-driven discussion about how the American Chemical Society's Committee on Professional Training's vision of a foundation and in-depth course for each of the five subdisciplines maps onto an inorganic chemistry curriculum that is consistent in its coverage of the core inorganic concepts, yet reflects the diversity and creativity of the inorganic community. The goal of this Viewpoint is to present the current state of the diverse undergraduate curriculum and lay a framework for an effective and engaging curriculum that illustrates the essential role inorganic chemistry plays within the chemistry community.