Craig M. Teague

My scholarly activity falls into three categories:   active scientific research with Cornell College students, pedagogical development for my courses, and activities that support the first two areas (e.g., grant writing, collaboration with other scientists, attending conferences and workshops, and maintaining memberships in professional societies).

Research Interests

Surface Chemistry and Nanoscience

We are interested in the surface chemistry of a class of inorganic species, the polyoxometalates.   In one project, we react polyoxometalates with metal oxide surfaces (e.g., silica) and utilize spectroscopic and microscopic techniques to understand the mode and strength of interaction between the polyoxometalate species and the surface.   We have ideas about how to use these composite materials in environmental remediation, including the sequestration of radioactive or heavy metal species, but first we need to understand more about the behavior of these materials.

We are also interested in the synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials.   It turns out that at very short length scales many properties of a substance depend strongly on size.   We are seeking to synthesize new materials on the nanometer length scale and understand them on a fundamental level.   Current work includes the study of metal nanoparticles with various stabilizing agents.

Cornell College students are involved in all aspects of this research, from experimental design to scientific writing and presentations.   Some students have been involved in grant writing as well.

Computational Chemistry

During my recent sabbatical, I developed a research interest in computational chemistry.   In this field, one can study a particular molecule or reaction using quantum mechanics as modeled with a computer or set of computers.   Computational chemistry is a powerful tool in modern chemistry research.

Recent work included the study of a set of ions for use in advanced carbon dioxide sequestration systems.   This work, which was done in collaboration with scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, involved parallel computing with density functional theory (DFT) and Moller-Plesset perturbation theory.

I have begun to involve Cornell College students in computational chemistry projects, and the first project is related to my sabbatical work.   In the long run, I hope to merge my two research interests to focus on combined experimental and DFT studies involving surface chemistry and nanoscience.

Research Students

The most important "product" from my research is the student experience gained from working on real research projects in close collaboration with me, a faculty member serving as principal investigator.   The following Cornell College students have been part of my research group (BMB = Biochemistry/Molecular Biology):

Student Summer Major, grad. year Later research, graduate school, employment
Laura Kelton 2011 Chemistry & Math, '12
Jordan Kemme 2011 BMB, '13
Elizabeth MacGregor 2011 Chemistry & Russian, '13
Margot Brobst 2008 BMB, '11 Current M.S. Fornesic Science student, Univ. of Illinois-Chicago
Megan Michalski 2007 BMB, '09 Univ. of Michigan, Summer '08; current D.D.S./Ph.D. student at Univ. of Michigan
Brittany Szczepanik 2007 English, '09 Teach for America, Louisiana
Tina Pontarelli 2006, 2007 BMB & Spanish, '09 Baylor Coll. of Medicine, Summer '08; current M.D. student at Saint Louis Univ.
Jenny Bean 2005, 2006 Chemistry, '07 M.S. Forensic Science, Univ. of Illinois-Chicago, '08; currently employed at a lab in Minnesota
Jeff Welder 2005 BMB & Philosophy, '07 Univ. of Maine, Summer '08; M.D., Univ. of Iowa, '11
Justin Valenstein 2004, 2005, research block Chemistry, '07 Summer '06 with C. Liberko; current Ph.D. candidate in chemistry at Iowa State Univ.
Amanda Hauser 2004 BMB & Women's Studies, '06 M.P.H., UCLA, '08
Marshall Tuetken 2004 BMB '06 Pharm.D., Univ. of Iowa

Attention former student researchers:   Contact me if the above is out of date!   CTeague at cornellcollege dot edu

Pedagogical Development

I am actively involved in implementing teaching methods, instructional materials, and curriculum design that foster improved student learning in my courses.

In recent years, I have implemented more and more aspects of Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) in my courses.   POGIL is a student-centered active learning framework that focuses on student discovery of concepts through work in small groups.   My POGIL implementation efforts continue, and in support of this I have attended workshops and symposia on POGIL while also engaging in discussions with other POGIL practitioners.   This includes both campus visits to see POGIL in action as well as testing new POGIL materials (written by faculty members at other colleges) in my courses.

In another effort, I have redesigned my physical chemistry courses to sidestep the classic debate about whether to teach thermodynamics or quantum mechanics in the first course of the two-course physical chemistry sequence.   I now teach aspects of both topics in both Physical Chemistry I and II; I begin each course by covering aspects of dynamics (chemical kinetics and kinetic molecular theory); and I seek to tie together the different branches of physical chemistry throughout both courses by focusing on unifying concepts like the Boltzman distribution and statistical thermodynamics.   Discussions with other professors and attendance at educational symposia have been very important in these efforts.

Finally, I have developed new courses to support both student interest and my own professional development.


As noted above, past work in computational chemistry has been done in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists.   These scientists are Drs. De-en Jiang and Sheng Dai in the Nanomaterials Group within the Chemical Sciences Division.   I spent a recent sabbatical year in this research group as a visiting scientist.

In the past, I have been active in grant writing to acquire major instrumentation with physics and chemistry faculty at Coe College.   This included separate grants for an atomic force microscope and a scanning electron microscope.   My research students and I have access to these instruments.

My students and I have been external users at the Center for Microanalysis of Materials in the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois.   We have primarily done x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy with Dr. Rick Haasch.

I maintain contact with several professors, especially Prof. Steve Singleton at Coe College, to discuss pedagogy and curriculum development.  


Corresponding authors asterisked, undergraduate authors daggered


3.   "Computational Investigation of Reactive to Nonreactive Capture of Carbon Dioxide by Oxygen-Containing Lewis Bases,” C.M. Teague*, S. Dai, and D. Jiang*, J. Phys. Chem. A 114(43), 11761-11767, 2010.

2.   “Vibrational Spectroscopy of a Keggin Polyoxometalate on Metal Electrode Surfaces,” C.M. Teague, X. Li, M.E. Biggin, L. Lee, J. Kim, and A.A. Gewirth*, J. Phys. Chem. B 108(6), 1974-1985, 2004.

1.   “Theoretical Comparison of the Bonding in CpCr(CO)2(NX) [X = O, S, Se, Te],” C.M. Teague†, T.A. O’Brien, and J.F. O’Brien*, J. Coord. Chem. 55(6), 627-631, 2002.


2.   “A Close Look at Three Variable Stars,” C.M. Teague†, Proceedings of the Missouri Space Grant Consortium Seventh Annual Meeting, 1998.

1.   “Differential CCD Photometry of HD 9250, HD 44812, and HD 45829,” C.M. Teague†, Proceedings of the Missouri Space Grant Consortium Sixth Annual Meeting, 1997.

Selected Presentations

This list includes presentations from the last three years which are related to the work described above.   For a full list, click here.

Corresponding authors asterisked, undergraduate authors daggered, presenters underlined

Scientific Meetings and Symposia

32.   Oral:   “Computational Investigation of Reactive to Nonreactive Capture of Carbon Dioxide by Oxygen-Containing Lewis Bases,” C.M. Teague*, S. Dai, and D. Jiang*, 241st National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Anaheim, CA, 3/11.

31.   Oral:   C.M. Teague*, Science Interest Group Lecture, Cornell College, Mount Vernon, IA, 1/11.

30.   Oral:   “Two integrations of nanoscience into the undergraduate curriculum:   A comparison,” C.M. Teague*, 21st Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, Denton, TX, 8/10.

29.   Poster:   “Nanoscience:   An advanced undergraduate course for science majors,” C.M. Teague*, 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Francisco, CA, 3/10.

28.   Oral:   “Computational Chemistry Studies of Ionic Liquid Systems,” C.M. Teague*, Oak Ridge Science Semester Interdisciplinary Seminar Series, Oak Ridge, TN, 12/09.

Broad-based Symposia and Related

17.   Poster:   "Synthesis of Bimetallic Core-Shell Metal Nanoparticles Capped by Keggin Ions,” M. Brobst† and C.M. Teague*, Student Symposium, Cornell College, Mount Vernon, IA, 4/09.

Selected Grants

This list includes successful grant applications from the last three years which are related to the work described above.   For a full list, click here.

Principal investigators asterisked, undergraduate authors daggered


14.   R.J. McElroy Student/Faculty Research Fund, awarded 5/11.

Internal:   Awards listed here require proposal writing and activity reporting.

20.   McConnell Travel Funds, awarded 11/10.

18.   Hewlett Planning Grant, awarded 3/10.

17.   McConnell Sabbatical Fellowship, awarded 12/09.

Professional Societies

I maintain active memberships in the following:

American Chemical Society

Division of Chemical Education

Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry

Division of Physical Chemistry

Iowa Local Section

Act4Chemistry legislative network

American Physical Society

Forum on Education

Forum on the History of Physics

Prairie Section

Midwestern Association of Chemistry Teachers in Liberal Arts Colleges