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.
Read about Ted’s full contributions and career.