Calling all Friends of VIPEr: have you ever wondered how you can give back to the amazing online inorganic community that has brought you learning objects (just in time for class tomorrow), workshops, and ACS symposia on undergraduate research? If so, read on for a personal account of how one faculty member went from “I’ve never heard of VIPEr” to sporting snake-themed accessories while learning about the many layers of activities and teams behind the scenes that make the magic alchemy happen.
July 2011, Organometallic Gordon Conference, Salve Regina University. Nervous to be attending my first Gordon conference, I am relieved to meet fellow PUI faculty Nancy Scott Williams and Adam Johnson. Nancy casually hands me a card with the acronyms IONiC and VIPEr on them and mentions that there will be an NSF-sponsored workshop next summer organized by the group.
July 2012, cCWCS workshop Inorganic Chemistry at the Frontiers of Catalysis, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. I have a blast all week creating learning objects based upon my Ph.D. thesis work and teaching materials while being part of Team Goldman (with Anthony L. Fernandez, Marites A. Guine-o, and John Lee). The four of us collaboratively write a problem set on oxidative addition of C-F bonds to Ir complexes.
April 2013, ACS National Meeting, New Orleans, LA. Thanks to Chip Nataro and Sheila Smith, I am invited to speak in the symposium “Undergraduate Research at the Frontiers of Inorganic Chemistry” about my work with Amy H. Roy MacArthur on microwave-assisted, copper-catalyzed transformations of aryl halides using a concurrent tandem catalytic methodology. I am inspired to send all my future undergraduate research students to present at the accompanying VIPEr-organized poster session.
August 2014, Biennial Conference of Chemical Education, Grand Valley State University. Reunited with Anthony Fernandez, I discover that he has become a VIPEr site administrator and that IONiC is looking for new members of Team Admin. I sign up right away and begin approving faculty users, participating in forum posts, and reviewing new LOs.
2016 VIPEr Workshop: Örgânömetâllicâ at the Frontiers of Inorganic Chemistry
July 2016, VIPEr Workshop: Örgânömetâllicâ at the Frontiers of Inorganic Chemistry, University of Michigan Ann Arbor. My second VIPEr workshop is highlighted by the chance to be part of Team Sanford and develop a literature discussion LO on carbon-heteroatom coupling reactions involving Ni(IV) complexes. Workshop leader Joanne Stewart and I survive a group outing on the Huron, zig-zagging in a two-person kayak that refuses to move in a straight line. (Is that a metaphor for chemistry...and life?)
June 2017, ACS Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting, Franklin and Marshall College and Hershey, PA. Along with Hilary Eppley, Chip Nataro, Kate Plass, and Barb Reisner, I co-lead a VIPEr workshop focusing upon developing literature discussions before heading to MARM for a symposium on Teaching Inorganic Chemistry organized by Chip and me, featuring many of our faculty friends from the region. While there, we celebrate the recipient of the E. Emmet Reid Award in Chemistry Teaching at Small Colleges in the ACS Mid-Atlantic Region...our own Chip Nataro!
September 2017 - present, the Internet. With the successful funding of the latest IONiC NSF grant, I join Team Research on executing The Grand Experiment, led by Joanne Stewart, Barb Reisner and Jeff Raker. We begin with a deep dive into the literature about communities of practice and the theory of how teachers change and then recruit our first group of VIPEr fellows. I finally grasp the enormity of the amount of work it has taken for the leadership council, both past and present members, to create IONiC VIPEr and realize that its continued growth and success will depend upon the guidance and vision of the many talented members of our community.
If contributing to VIPEr in any of the ways mentioned above appeals to you, please contact one or more of the member of the leadership council to become part of this impactful, vibrant group of educators!