Date of Award


Level of Access

Campus-Only Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




François G. Amar

Second Committee Member

Mitchell R.M. Bruce

Third Committee Member

Alice E. Bruce


Chemical education research represents a growing area of discipline specific education research, and this work is a result of a joint degree in chemical education and inorganic chemistry. The chemical education research has included the development of InterChemNet (ICN), a Web-based management system designed to foster active learning in the laboratory. The system allows students choices of discovery-based experiments, provides quick and easy access to UV-visible and FTIR spectrometers, and creates individualized pathways for students. An integrated evaluation module provides immediate feedback for students and evaluation data for instructors, facilitating the introduction of chemical education research into existing courses by promoting a systematic and evidence-based curriculum development cycle. The system has been used to document differences in learning outcomes and student attitudes for specific experiments in the laboratory. ICN has also been used to manage and evaluate the peer led team learning (PLTL) program in the general chemistry lecture course. ICN was used to deliver PLTL workshops, record attendance, and evaluate student understanding of workshop content as well as monitor student attitudes. Results showed significant increases in student grades and retention rates. The analysis considered factors such as previous GPA, high school rank, and SAT scores. Student and leader attitudes towards PLTL have also been documented. The work in inorganic chemistry has included investigating the redox properties of gold thiolate complexes and their biological implications, including the use of auranofin, [2,3,4,6-0-acetyl-1-thio-D-glucopyranosato-S-(triethylphosphine)gold(I)], to treat rheumatoid arthritis. X-ray crystal structures of Ph3PAu(SC6Me2H3)and Me3PAu(SC6H4Me-p) ave been obtained along with the oxidation product [(Ph3PAu)2(SC6Me2H3)]PF6. Results suggest that steric factors influence the formation of digold versus tetragold complexes in the solid state. Ferrocenium, (Cp2FePF6) with a potential of +0.46 V in [Bu4N][PF6]/CH2Cl2 vs. SCE, also oxidizes Auranofin, Ph3PAu(SC6H4Me-p), and Ph3PAu(SC6Me2H3a)t a much lower potential than is recorded electrochemically by acting as an electron transfer catalyst. Electrochemical and chemical oxidation of Ph3PAu(SC6H4Me-p) and Ph3PAu(SC6Me2H3) have been used to determine the homogeneous rate constant of the oxidation reaction as well as the thermodynamic E½ for these gold sulfur compounds.