History of the IIL
In 1990 the analytical faculty was asked by colleagues from the pharmaceutical industry to develop a course that would better prepare B.S. and M.S. level students to meet specific industrial needs. Critical problem solving was of special interest to industry, along with communication skills, working as part of a team, and understanding the regulatory environment. As we prepared lecture material on the subject of instrumentation fundamentals it was clear that the laboratory environment was ideal for mastering many of these skills.
Unfortunately, our laboratory facilities at the time lacked the equipment typically available to modern chemists, thereby limiting our students to sub-optimal solutions to assigned problems. Our industrial colleagues stepped up with donations and over the following five years our department acquired the state-of-the-art equipment that formed the core of the Instructional Instrumentation Laboratory (IIL). Space to house these instruments was provided by funds from classroom improvement programs. Improvements continue today with industrial and private donations, University of Kansas technology improvement initiatives, plus NSF support.
As always the IIL instruments are available to other researchers, yet priority use is always granted to the undergraduates at the University of Kansas. The goal of the IIL remains to provide our undergraduates with the widest choice of techniques enabling them to select the optimal approach in the identification and solution of chemical problems.