Theodore (Ted) Kuwana
August 3, 1931 - January 1, 2022
The analytical chemistry community has lost a leader and friend with the passing of Ted Kuwana, Professor Emeritus of the University of Kansas. An initiative that Ted started in the mid-1990s ultimately led to the creation of the Analytical Sciences Digital Library (ASDL) and other efforts to promote student-centered learning in analytical chemistry.
Hearing feedback from industrial analytical chemists that many new hires were deficient in the skills they most valued, Ted secured funding from the Education and Chemistry Divisions of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to organize a workshop on analytical chemistry education. The workshop report Curricular Developments in the Analytical Sciences [https://www.asdlib.org/files/curricularDevelopment_report.pdf], which was published in 1997, advocated for the engagement of undergraduate students in problem-based experiences in the classroom and laboratory portion of courses.
After publication of the report, Ted led a systematic effort to promote its recommendations. Some eventual outcomes of this effort are summarized below.
- Regular symposia within the Analytical Division at national meetings of the American Chemical Society (ACS) featuring speakers who use student-centered learning in their analytical chemistry courses.
- A regular series of education articles in the A-pages of Analytical Chemistry from 1999-2003. Tom Wenzel of Bates College served as a Contributing Editor for this series.
- Half-day workshops on problem-based learning in the analytical sciences curriculum at Pittcon from 1999-2006. Glenn Boutilier (Proctor and Gamble), Charles Hosten (Howard University), Jeanne Pemberton (University of Arizona), Tom Wenzel (Bates College) and George Wilson (University of Kansas) were the primary facilitators for the series of workshops.
- Creation of ASDL in 2002. Initially funded through the Digital Library Initiative of NSF, in 2005, Ted worked to secure permanent funding for ASDL through the Analytical Division of ACS. Initial efforts to create ASDL were undertaken in collaboration with Cindy Larive, then Professor at the University of Kansas and now Chancellor of the University of California Santa Cruz.
- Creation of the Active Learning section of ASDL in 2009, which was initiated by Cindy Larive and Tom Wenzel through grants from NSF.
- Active learning workshops for analytical chemistry instructors were offered from 2014-2018 through NSF grants to Tom Wenzel. Efforts to secure further support for such workshops are currently underway.
- In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Remote Labs and Simulations section of ASDL was created in 2020 under the leadership of Tom Spudich of Maryville University.
As this list shows, the state of analytical chemistry education today would be quite different without the pioneering work and leadership of Ted Kuwana. Those of us in the analytical chemistry community remain indebted to his efforts. People who had the chance to work directly with Ted speak highly of the opportunities he created.
David Harvey of DePauw University
“For me, one of the significant outcomes of Ted’s vision for ASDL was the series of annual summer workshops that brought together a community of analytical chemists interested in exploring pedagogy broadly and, more specifically, active learning. I think this was particularly important for faculty members at smaller, undergraduate institutions, such as myself, where one often is the sole analytical chemist. The opportunity to work collaboratively with faculty colleagues at other institutions to develop new pedagogical materials has been an essential part of my professional development for the past 15 years.”
Eastern Oregon University
“I was fortunate to cross paths with Ted earlier on in my career. His innovative efforts to promote active learning not only helped shape my current teaching but also gave me the opportunity to connect with a small community of educators around the country. Because of Ted’s vision, that small community has now become a large reform movement affecting the teaching of analytical chemistry nationwide.”
Alex Scheeline Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
“Ted was someone of vast perspective, practical insight, understated enthusiasm, and high standards. Ted is a man of impeccable integrity, a dedicated analytical electrochemist, and a savant who saw how to harness the internet to improve analytical education in a practical way that anticipated the needs of the COVID era by 20 years.”
The Analytical Sciences Digital Library, ASDL, collects, catalogs, links and publishes peer reviewed web-based discovery materials pertinent to innovations in curricular development and supporting technical resources in the analytical sciences. The ASDL website (www.asdlib.org) is one of several collections initially funded by NSF’s National Science Digital Library, and is currently supported by the Division of Analytical Chemistry of the American Chemical Society. ASDL grew out of discussions at regional and national meetings on ways to implement recommendations from NSF-sponsored workshops that evaluated teaching practices in the analytical curriculum. These recommendations can be found in the workshop report Curricular Developments in the Analytical Sciences, available as a pdf.