About the Chemistry Department

Mission

The mission of the Chemistry Department is to provide excellent educational experiences in the classroom and in the laboratory at all levels and in all sub-disciplines of chemistry, with the goal to foster in our students a solid background in the foundational aspects, an understanding of the scientific methods of inquiry, and an appreciation of the significance and relevance of chemistry in daily life. We strive to offer programs of relevance that instill in our students the principles, motivation, comprehension, and the vision to prepare them for graduate school, medical school, or for careers in the chemical industry or in teaching. Toward these ends, the department has focused its resources to develop undergraduate curricula that inspire our students to gain a firm and operative understanding of the fundamental theories and principles in chemistry and biochemistry and to provide opportunities for faculty to mentor undergraduates in original research in order to enhance their theoretical, experimental, and creative abilities through hands-on laboratory experience, as well as other transformational learning experiences such as internships, attending and presenting at regional and national meetings and workshops. In designing our lecture and laboratory courses we strive to engage our students and to help them develop critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork skills. Our faculty engage in self-reflection to ensure that the department achieves its goals effectively.

Vision

In today's chemical industry employers are looking for more in the employees they hire. In addition to a broad education in all aspects of chemistry new employees are expected to be cognizant of issues such as safety, intellectual property, laboratory information systems, government regulations, as well as current trends in the discipline. Written and oral communication skills are also important as are the abilities to work as part of a team and independently. Our graduates gain all these skills through their Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry.

Our vision is based around graduating the best educated and most talented scientists we can. This is achieved through a rigorous undergraduate curriculum in chemistry, supplemented by foundation courses in math and physics. Students are expected to perform well in both lecture and laboratory and so the majority of chemistry classes are in combined lecture and laboratory format. Upper level students are expected to be more self directed in laboratories giving them a chance to really develop into being a "chemist".

Research experience is strongly encouraged for all chemistry majors. This not only allows students to improve their laboratory skills but also gives them a taste of graduate school, before they make a decision on their career path. Students have options to work part-time in local industry, apply for co-ops with local companies, and apply for both internal and external scholarships for research. Our senior level course "Senior Seminar" is designed to instruct students about speaking and writing like a scientist. Patents, intellectual property, scientific literature, and Internet science are all covered.

Lastly, we encourage students to attend a major chemistry conference wherever possible, and many students do this through presenting their chemical research at poster sessions. Exposing chemistry majors to many different opportunities and perspectives of science gives our students the tools they will need to succeed in their careers.