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Justin Houseknecht, Ph.D.

Justin HouseknechtProfessor of Chemistry
Chair of the Department

Organic Chemistry
jhouseknecht@wittenberg.edu
(937) 327-6437
Science Hall 245E

I teach primarily organic chemistry, but have occasionally had the opportunity to teach chemistry for non-science majors, computational chemistry, and molecular toxicology courses. Since the summer of 2013 I have been continually shifting my teaching methods to be more evidence-based. This has led to more learner-centered, active classrooms with higher rates of student success. I have written two book chapters (2015 and 2016) and contributed to a Journal of Chemical Education article describing implementation of a hybrid Just-in-Time Teaching pedagogy that uses iPads for collaborative learning. Incorporation of specification grading has also brought my assessment techniques in line with best-practice.

Most of my research students over the years have used computational chemistry to study the mechanism of organic chemistry reactions. We have been particularly interested in nucleophilic acyl substitution reactions that occur at the boundary between the well-known associative pathway and the lesser-known dissociative pathway.

I am very interested in the content of organic chemistry textbooks and how it has changed over the years. I have published one article surveying the content variability of modern textbooks and had several students assess other aspects of modern and historical textbooks. These projects continue to inform the textbook that I am writing with colleagues.

Evidence-based, active learning pedagogies are highly effective relative to traditional lecture, yet most organic chemistry faculty continue to lecture. Much of my professional activity since 2013 has been to disseminate active, evidence-based pedagogies in organic chemistry through Organic Education Resources (OrganicERs). I have facilitated dozens of workshops, written several book chapters including an introduction to active learning in organic chemistry, and been lead editor on an ACS Symposium Series book about active learning in organic chemistry. Several Wittenberg students and I also assessed the effect of the 2015 and 2016 Active Learning in Organic Chemistry on workshop participants. I am also working to develop organic chemistry specific concept inventories to assess the impact of active learning pedagogies on student learning in organic chemistry.

Academic Background

  • Professor of Chemistry at Wittenberg University, OH (2018 to present)
  • Associate Professor of Chemistry at Wittenberg University, OH (2011 to 2018)
  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Wittenberg University, OH (2005 to 2011)
  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Centre College, KY (2003 to 2005)
  • Postdoctoral scholar and adjunct Instructor of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky (2003)
  • Ph.D. in Chemistry from The Ohio State University (2003)
  • Ph.D. advisor - Todd L. Lowary (now at the University of Alberta)
  • BS in Biochemistry from Grove City College, PA (1998)

Courses

  • Introductory Chemistry for Health Sciences before General Chemistry
  • Add Molecular Toxicology before Computational Chemistry
  • Chemistry and Society
  • General Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Principles of Biochemistry
  • Computational Chemistry

Peer Reviewed Publications (student authors in bold)

  • Houseknecht, J. B. and Bates, L. K. Transition to Remote Instruction Using Hybrid Just-in-Time Teaching, Collaborative Learning, and Specifications Grading for Organic Chemistry 2. J. Chem. Educ., 2020, 97, XXX-XXX.
  • Houseknecht, J. B. and Leontyev, A. Development of an Aldehyde and Ketone Concept Inventory. In preparation.
  • Leontyev, A.; Houseknecht, J. B.; Maloney, V. M.; Muzyka, J. L.; Rossi, R.; Welder, C. O.; Winfield, L. OrganicERs: Building a Community of Practice of Organic Chemistry Instructors through Workshops and Web-based Resources. J. Chem. Educ., 2020, 97, 106-111.
  • Houseknecht, J. B.; Bachinski, G. J.; Miller, M. H.; White, S. A.; Andrews, D. M. Effectiveness of the Active Learning in Organic Chemistry Faculty Development Workshops. Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2020, 21, 387-398.
  • Houseknecht, J. B., Leontyev, A., Maloney, V. M., Welder, C. O. Introduction to Active Learning in Organic Chemistry and Essential Terms. In Active Learning in Organic Chemistry: Implementation and Analysis; Houseknecht, J. B., Leontyev, A., Maloney, V. M., Welder, C. O., Eds.; ACS Symposium Series; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2019, Vol. 1336, 1-17.
  • Houseknecht, J. B. Just-in-Time Teaching Organic Chemistry with iPads. In The Flipped Classroom; Muzyka, J. L., Luker, C., Eds.; ACS Symposium Series; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2016, Vol. 1228, 81-92.
  • Belford, R., Stoltzfus, M., Houseknecht, J. B. ConfChem Conference on Flipped Classroom: Spring 2014 ConfChem Virtual Poster Session. J. Chem. Educ. 2015, 92, 1582-1583.
  • Houseknecht, J. B. Topic Sequence and Emphasis Variability of Selected Organic Chemistry Textbooks.  J. Chem. Ed. 2010, 87, 592-597.
  • Sefzik, T.; Houseknecht, J. B.; Clark, T. M.; Prasad, S.; Lowary, T. L.; Gan, Z.; Grandinetti, P. J.  Solid-state O-17 NMR in carbohydrates.  Chem. Phys. Lett., 2007, 434, 312-315.
  • Blankenship, J. D.; Houseknecht, J. B.; Pal, S.; Bush, L. P.; Grossman, R. B.; Schardl, C. L.  Biosynthetic precursors of fungal pyrrolizidines, the loline alkaloids.  ChemBioChem, 2005, 6, 1016-1022.
  • Houseknecht, J. B.; Lowary, T. L.; Hadad, C. M.  Gas and solution phase energetics of the methyl - and -D-aldopentofuranosides.  J. Phys. Chem. A., 2003, 107, 5763-5777.
  • Houseknecht, J. B.; Lowary, T. L.; Hadad, C. M.  Improved Karplus equations for 3JC1,H4 in aldopentofuranosides.  Application to the conformational preferences of the methyl aldopentofuranosides.  J. Phys. Chem. A., 2003, 107, 372-378.
  • Houseknecht, J. B.; Altona, C; Hadad, C. M.; Lowary, T. L.  Conformational analysis of furanose rings with PSEUROT: parameterization for rings possessing the arabino-, lyxo-, ribo-, and xylo- stereochemistry and application to arabinofuranosides.  J. Org. Chem. 2002, 67, 4647-4651.
  • Houseknecht, J. B.; Lowary, T. L.  Oligofuranosides containing conformationally-restricted residues: synthesis and conformational analysis.  J. Org. Chem. 2002, 67, 4150-4164.
  • Houseknecht, J. B.; Lowary, T. L.  Chemistry and biology of arabinofuranosyl and galactofuranosyl-containing polysaccharides.  Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol. 2001, 5, 677-682.
  • Houseknecht, J. B.; McCarren, P. R.; Lowary, T. L.; Hadad, C. M.  Conformational studies of methyl 3-O-methyl--D-arabinofuranoside: an approach for studying the conformation of furanose rings.  J. Am. Chem. Soc.  2001, 123, 8811-8824.
  • Houseknecht, J. B.; Temple, J. S.; Bateman, R. C.  In situ detection method for Glutaminyl Cyclase activity in polyacrylamide gels.  Biotechniques 1998, 24, 346.

Books

  • Active Learning in Organic Chemistry: Implementation and Analysis; Houseknecht, J. B., Leontyev, A., Maloney, V. M., Welder, C. O., Eds.; ACS Symposium Series; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2019.

Book Chapters

  • Houseknecht, J. B. Go “Old School” with New Technology. In It Works for Me, Flipping the Classroom: Shared Tips for Effective Teaching; Blythe, H., Sweet, C., Carpenter, R., Eds.; New Forums Press: Stillwater, OK, 2015, 16-18.

Presentations at Professional Meetings (student presenters in bold):

  • Rachel D. Massey, R. D.; Houseknecht, J. B. Nucleophilic Acyl Substitution Reactions of Acetyl Cyanide in Aqueous Conditions. 2019, 18th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Greenville, South Carolina.
  • Cull, K.; Houseknecht, J. B., Analyzing Transition States in Gas Phase Nucleophilic Acyl Substitution Self-Displacement Reactions. 2019, 18th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Greenville, South Carolina.
  • Casselman, M.; Houseknecht, J.; Leontyev, A.; Maloney, V.; Muzyka, J.; Ring, J.; Rossi, R.; Welder, C.; Winfield, L. Organic chemistry educational resources: Community of organic chemistry educators. Poster presentation, 2019, 46th National Organic Symposium, Bloomington, Indiana.
  • Houseknecht, J. B. Specification grading in organic chemistry. Oral presentation, 2019, 5th Ohio PKAL Conference, Dayton, Ohio.
  • Houseknecht, J. B. Organic chemistry lecture and laboratory with specification grading. Oral presentation, 2018, 256th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Boston.
  • Bachinski, G. J.; White, S.; Houseknecht, J. B. Effect of the Active Learning in Organic Chemistry workshops on teaching practice. 2018, 25th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, South Bend.
  • Samuel, C. D.; Houseknecht, J. B. Accessing the Gas Phase Reactivity of Cyanide in Nucleophilic Acyl Substitution. Poster presentation, 2018, 17th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Greenville, South Carolina.
  • Muzyka, J.; Winfield, L.; Houseknecht, J.; Leontyev, A.; Maloney, V.; Rossi, R.; Welder, C. Organic chemistry education resources: community of organic chemistry researchers. Poster presentation, 2017, 254th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C.
  • Clarke, T.; Houseknecht, J. B. The Reaction of Acetyl Cyanide with Fluoroacetylide: Associative, Dissociative, and Concerted Pathways. Poster presentation, 2017, 16th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Greenville, South Carolina.
  • Unternaher, J.; Houseknecht, J. B. Nucleophilic Acyl Substitution of Acetyl Cyanide with Cyanide. Poster presentation, 2017, 16th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Greenville, South Carolina.
  • Wood, K.; Houseknecht, J. B. Analyzing the Effects of a Better Leaving Group for Nucleophilic Acyl Substitution using M06-2X and MP2. Poster presentation, 2017, 16th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Greenville, South Carolina.
  • White, S. A.; Houseknecht, J. B. Did the 2015 Active Learning in Organic Chemistry Mini-Workshop change anything? Poster presentation, Celebration of Learning, 2017.
  • Houseknecht, J. B. Teaching beyond our expertise: A student-led toxicology course. Oral presentation, 2016, 24th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, Greeley, Colorado.
  • White, S. A.; Houseknecht, J. B. Did the 2015 Active Learning in Organic Chemistry Mini-Workshop change anything?, Oral presentation, 2016, 24th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, Greeley, Colorado.
  • Leontyev, A.; Houseknecht, J. B. Development of an Aldehyde and Ketone Concept Inventory. Oral presentation, 2016, 24th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, Greeley, Colorado.
  • Wood, K.; Houseknecht, J. B. Analyzing the Effects of a Better Leaving Group for Nucleophilic Acyl Substitution. Poster presentation, 2016, 15th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Vo, P.; Houseknecht, J. B. Investigations into the Effect of SMD Solvent on Nucleophilic Acyl Substitution Reactions with M06-2X. Poster presentation, 2016, 15th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Houseknecht, J. B. Using iPads to Promote Critical Thinking in Organic Chemistry. Oral presentation, 2016, 2nd Ohio PKAL Conference, Columbus, Ohio.
  • Miller, M. H.; Houseknecht, J. B. Effectiveness of the 2015 active learning in organic chemistry mini-workshop. Poster presentation, 2016, 47th Central Regional Meeting of the ACS, Covington, Kentucky.
  • Vo, P.; Houseknecht, J. B. Investigations into the Mechanisms of Nucleophilic Substitution Reactions with M06-2X. Poster presentation, 2016, 251st National ACS Meeting, San Diego, CA.
  • Wood, H. J.; Houseknecht, J. B. Nucleophilic Acyl Substitution of Acetic Anhydride with Substituted Phenolates: MP2. Poster presentation, 2015, 14th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Vo, P.; Houseknecht, J. B. Investigations into the Mechanisms of Nucleophilic Substitution Reactions with M06-2X. Poster presentation, 2015, 14th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Houseknecht, J. B. Flipping the Organic Chemistry Classroom Using the Explain Everything App. Oral presentation, 2014, 23rd Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, Allendale, MI.
  • Green, T. C.; Houseknecht, J. B. Computational Investigation of the Nucleophilic Acyl Substitution Reaction of m-Methyl and m-Nitrophenols with Acetic Anhydride in the Gas Phase.  Poster presentation, 2014, 13th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • McCloy, K.; Houseknecht, J. B. Effects of SMD and SM8 Solvation Models on the Nucleophilic Acyl Substitution Reactions of m-Methyl and m-Nitrophenol in Acetic Anhydride.  Poster presentation, 2014, 13th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Wood, H. J.; Houseknecht, J. B. Investigating the Nucleophilic Acyl Substitution Reaciton using the Polarizable Continuum Model.  Poster presentation, 2014, 13th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Houseknecht, J. B. A Year of Organic Chemistry Group Work with iPads. Poster presentation, 2014, Spring ConfChem: Flipped Classroom, electronic.
  • Bond, K.; Houseknecht, J. B. The Effects of Topic Sequence Upon Pedagogy in Ten Top-Selling Organic Chemistry Textbooks. Oral presentation, 2014, 247th National ACS meeting, Dallas, Texas.
  • Franjesevic, A.; Houseknecht, J. B. Gas Phase Acylation of Substituted Phenols: The Borderline Between BAC2 and Concerted Nucleophilic Acyl Substitution. Poster presentation, 2014, 247th National ACS meeting, Dallas, Texas.
  • Kapuscincki, A.; Houseknecht, J. B. Solvent Effects on the Reaction of m-Methylphenolate with Acetic Anhydride.  Poster presentation, 2013, 12th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Lawson, S.; Houseknecht, J. B. Effect of Solvation with PCM on the Activation Energies of Acetylation of m-Methylphenolate.  Poster presentation, 2013, 12th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Franjesevic, A.; Houseknecht, J. B. The Computational Determination of Barriers to Decomposition of m-Nitrolphenolate Reacting with Acetic Anhydride.  Poster presentation, 2012, 11th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Bond, K.; Houseknecht, J. B. The Computational Determination of Barriers of Decomposition: Acetylation of m-Methylphenol.  Poster presentation, 2012, 11th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • To, K. D.; Houseknecht, J. B. Accurate and Efficient Calculations of the Gas Phase Acidity of Phenols and Carboxylic Acids. Poster presentation, 2011, 10th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Utter, M.; Houseknecht, J. B. Concerted or Stepwise Mechanism for Acetylation of 3-Methylphenol? Computational Determination of Activation Energies.  Poster presentation, 2011, 10th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Werstler, E. M.; Houseknecht, J. B. Determining the energy profile of the reaction of m-fluorophenol with acetic anhydride. Poster presentation, 2011, 10th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Bell, L.; Houseknecht, J. B.  Acetylation of Phenols: Computational Determination of Activation Energies. Poster presentation, 2010, 9th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Clinton, New York.
  • Hanf, B. T.; Houseknecht, J. B.  Computational Analysis of Solvation Methods in Acid-Base Reactions of Substituted Phenols.  Poster presentation, 2009, 8th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Clinton, New York.
  • Merz, M. D.; Houseknecht, J. B.  Computational Analysis of Tetrahedral Intermediate Formed in Acetylation of Phenol with Acetic Anhydride. Poster presentation, 2009, 8th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Clinton, New York.
  • Brym, A. J.; Houseknecht, J. B.; Dudis, D. S.  Hydrogen Abstraction-Induced Ring Opening in Thiazolo[5,4-d]thiazole, Benzthiazole, and Thiazole. Poster presentation, 2008, 7th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Clinton, New York.
  • Mahowald, J. M.; Houseknecht, J. B.  Computational Methods to Determine Solvent Effects on the Reaction of Phenol and Bicarbonate. Poster presentation, 2008, 7th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Clinton, New York.
  • Mann, B. R.; Mowrey, D. D.; Houseknecht, J. B. Computational Method Effects on the Reaction-Energy Profie of Acetylation of Phenol with Acetic Anhydride.  Poster presentation, 2008, 7th MERCURY Conference on Computational Chemistry, Clinton, New York.
  • Houseknecht, J. B.  Survey of Current Organic Textbooks. Oral presentation, 2008, 20th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, Bloomington, Indiana.
  • Houseknecht, J. B.  Concept Based Approach to Organic Chemistry. Oral presentation, 2008, 20th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, Bloomington, Indiana.
  • Weiss, R. M.; Houseknecht, J. B.  The Effects of Solvation on the Nucleophilic Acyl Substitution Reaction of Acetic Anhydride with Phenol in Aqueous Bicarbonate.  Poster presentation, 2008, 22nd National Council on Undergraduate Research, Salisbury, Maryland.
  • Dudis, D.; Verrilli, T.; Houseknecht, J.; Benin, V.; Yeates, A.  Hydrogen Abstraction-Induced Ring Opening in Thiazoles.  Poster presentation, 2007, 234th National ACS Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Mowrey, D.; Houseknecht, J. B.  Modeling an Esterification Reaction Using Computational Chemistry.  Poster presentation, 2007, Dayton Section of the American Chemical Society, Dayton, Ohio.
  • Newbold, D. A.; Houseknecht, J. B.  Acetylation of Phenols.  Poster presentation, 2004, 56th South-East Regional Meeting of the ACS, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
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