Educational efforts and philosophy

My teaching efforts concentrate on long-term, multidisciplinary curriculum development. To this end, I developed and taught Introduction to polymer science, chemistry of solids, an on-line course on organic molecular conductors, chemistry of advanced materials, and nanomaterials. The latter attracts students from seven different academic departments. An emphasis on interdisciplinary collaborations in my own work places me in an ideal position to promote cross-cutting courses like these. Introduction of new technology (such as multimedia lecture methods, network-based distance education, and introduction of modern instrumentation into the instructional laboratories) is also a high priority. For instance, thermal analysis and GPC equipment were incorporated into undergraduate physical and polymer chemistry courses at SUNY-Binghamton. I have also made major efforts to update the undergraduate physical chemistry labs at the University of Tennessee by modernizing the lab manual, the basic instrumentation (balances, uv-vis spectrometers, power supplies, and software for computational chemistry), and the facilities. I also developed labs on theoretical thermodynamic properties prediction, confinement effects on the optical properties of nanogold, polymer fluorescence and light emitting diodes, Raman scattering and symmetry of oxide battery materials, and copper oxide superconductivity. Moreover, I rebuilt the vapor pressure lab, the vapor-liquid equilibrium setups, and a closed-cycle cryostat for variable temperature resistivity measurements on superconductors. Finally, I am deeply committed to the education of young people through hands-on research experiences. The creative accomplishments and contributions of my high school, undergraduate, and graduate students are reflected in our many publications. Funding for some aspects of this educational work has been provided by the National Science Foundation.

Photos from the Advanced Physical Chemistry Lab

Jan's students investigating the properties of nano-gold!
The students loading YBCO superconductor into the cryostat.
Everybody relaxing while waiting for pizza and sipping on an adult beverage