Professor Achey Joins NSF-Sponsored Inorganic Chemistry Education Research Project

Darren Achey

KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Dr. Darren Achey, associate professor of Physical Sciences, has been named a Virtual Inorganic Pedagogical Electronic Resource (VIPEr) Fellow in an innovative study to develop, test and refine a flexible, foundation-level inorganic chemistry course. As one of a group of 40 faculty selected for this ground-breaking project, he will join other inorganic chemists from across the country in a community of practice dedicated to improving student learning. Over the course of the project, the VIPEr Fellows will implement evidence-based practices in their courses.

"I am constantly looking to improve my methods of teaching," Achey said. "By taking part in this systematic commitment to chemistry education, I know that my students will benefit tremendously."

The study, entitled “Improving Inorganic Chemistry Education,” is being led by the Interactive Online Network of Inorganic Chemists (IONiC) with support from the National Science Foundation’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education program. The project will use classroom observations, analysis of student work, student surveys and faculty interviews to study how changes in the classroom affect student learning, interest and motivation. IONiC's web home, the VIPEr (, will be used as the hub for disseminating the course goals, content and pedagogy. The project will also investigate how IONiC may encourage the adoption of evidence-based classroom practices.

The goals of the project are to improve pedagogy and to create a more simplistic overview of Inorganic Chemistry as a course, as its broad range of material makes it difficult to teach from university to university.

"This next cohort of VIPEr Fellows is amazing," said professor Joanne Stewart of Hope College, a principal investigator on the grant. "Our first set of Fellows gave us insight into the power of community to help faculty reflect and support changes to their teaching practices. We are excited to continue the project with another group of Fellows that represent the diversity of faculty and institutions that exist throughout inorganic chemistry."

Achey has taught chemistry at Kutztown University for eight years. He has been involved with the IONiC VIPEr project since the beginning of his time at KU and has been contributing to the inorganic chemistry community since then.

To learn more about the NSF project, visit VIPEr (