Chemistry (CHM)

The Chemistry Department offers BA and BS degrees in Chemistry and a minor in Chemistry

Educational Goal

With careful consideration given to the guidelines and evaluation procedures for Bachelor’s degree programs in Chemistry, as established by the American Chemical Society’s Committee on Professional Training (ACS-CPT), the Chemistry Department aims to provide a rigorous curriculum with research opportunities for students that extend beyond the traditional boundaries of chemistry. The Department’s vision statement also asserts that “…faculty, staff and students alike are committed to developing and using their creativity and critical thinking skills to achieve excellence in inquiry, discovery, application and service.” Through this commitment, students will be prepared to work as professional chemists, to teach in the field, to pursue graduate studies in the sciences, to pursue professional school training, or to explore any number of “non-traditional” science careers.

Ongoing review processes. During the Spring 2011 semester, the Department completed a thorough review of the curriculum to ensure that it is in compliance with the new requirements for certification as specified by the American Chemical Society’s Committee on Professional Training (ACS-CPT), and will continue to update the curriculum as necessary.

Key Learning Objectives for Chemistry Majors

The Department has identified a set of six key learning objectives that reflect the department’s vision, mission and values and meet the American Chemical Society’s areas of student skills. Consistent with the American Chemical Society recommendations, the requirements for the BA and BS degrees are similar, with the exception of the requirements of additional hours in chemistry and independent research experience for the BS degree. By assessing the achievement of individual students in the following six areas of learning outcomes, the department is able to measure success in undergraduate education. Key competencies for chemistry majors, listed below, must be achieved prior to graduation:

  • Students will solve conceptual and quantitative problems in chemistry through the application of fundamental scientific principles in all five major fields (analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic and physical).

  • Students will demonstrate proficiency in research methods by undertaking significant research and/or by discussion of contemporary research, chemical literature and acquisition of chemical information.

  • Students will recognize the role of responsible conduct in chemistry and develop strategies to address ethical issues in the field.

  • Students will demonstrate safe lab practices and acceptable skills in laboratory procedure, experimental design and maintaining a lab notebook.

  • Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively through written work and oral presentation.

  • Students will demonstrate high level analytical and critical thinking skills.

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

Currently, learning outcomes are assessed individually in each class, through appropriate measures stated in the course syllabi and compiled in the following table (also cross-references to the American Chemical Society skill requirements):

Key Competencies for Chemistry BS and BA Majors*

ACS Skill, reference

Key Competency

Opportunities for Achievement

Assessment of Achievement Level May Include:

7.1

Students will solve conceptual and quantitative problems in chemistry through the application of fundamental scientific principles in all five major fields (analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic and physical).

  • CHM 111,122/123, 223, 280, 341, 342, 334, 361, 364, 370, 373 and any associated labs.

Exams (all formats including the ACS standardized final exams, where applicable), Written lab reports, Oral and poster presentations, Research article discussion, Peer evaluation

7.2

Students will demonstrate proficiency in research methods by undertaking significant research and/or by discussion of contemporary research, chemical literature and acquisition of chemical information.

  • CHM 223L, 280L, 341L, 342L, 334L, 361L, 364L, 370L.

  • CHM 391, 392, Wake Forest Research Fellowship program, other research experiences.

  • CHM 381, 382.

Lab reports
Presentations at local, national, or international meetings
Literature research papers
Peer evaluation
Research literature discussions

Student journals

7.3

Students will recognize the role of responsible conduct in chemistry and develop strategies to address ethical issues in the field.

  • CHM 381, 382, 391, 392.

Research group meeting participation
Human subject research or Responsible Conduct in research training completion, if applicable
Completion of case-studies

7.3

Students will demonstrate safe lab practices and acceptable skills in laboratory procedure, experimental design and maintaining a lab notebook.

  • CHM 111L,122L/123L, 223L, 280L, 341L, 342L, 334L, 361L, 364L, 370L.

  • Research experiences, including CHM 391, 392.

  • Individual safety training by research mentor.

Lab reports
Lab exams, Lab practical exam

7.4

Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively through written work and oral presentation.

  • CHM 280L and upper level lecture and lab courses.

  • Honors thesis defense, if applicable.

  • Research experiences, including CHM 391, 392.

Lab reports
Lab exams
Peer evaluation
Oral and poster presentations
Research group meetings

Students will demonstrate high level analytical and critical thinking skills.

  • CHM 111,122/123, 223, 280, 341, 342, 334, 361, 364, 370 and associated labs, 373.

  • CHM 381, 382.

  • CHM 391, 392.

Exams (all formats including the ACS standardized final exams, where applicable)Acceptance to graduate and professional schools or employment in industry or other fields of work, as documented by senior survey

BA chemistry majors are required to take fewer chemistry hours than BS majors, but are afforded the same opportunities to achieve Key Competencies. Students who earn a BS in Chemistry will have the knowledge, preparation and skills necessary for careers in chemical research and/or the health professions. Students who earn a BA in Chemistry will have the knowledge, preparation and skills necessary for a career in fields that have intersections with chemical science and/or the health professions.

*Approved by department faculty 3/29/11. Presented for amendment and completion of assessment plan 11/1/11.

In addition to this table of learning objectives, faculty members in each division of chemistry in the Chemistry Department have identified key learning objectives for each upper-level “in-depth” (American Chemical Society definition) course.

Key Competencies for Chemistry Minors

ACS Skill, reference

Key Competency

Opportunities for Achievement

Assessment of Achievement Level May Include:

7.1

Students will solve conceptual and quantitative problems in chemistry through the application of fundamental scientific principles.

  • CHM 111, 120, 122/123, 223, 280, 341, 370.

Exams (all formats including the ACS standardized final exams, where applicable)

Written lab reports

7.3

Students will demonstrate safe lab practices and acceptable skills in laboratory procedure and maintaining a lab notebook.

  • CHM 111L, 120L, 122L/123L, 223L, 280L.

Lab reports
Lab exams

Lab practical exam

The Chemistry Department also employs standardized American Chemical Society examinations in several classes as a means of assessment. These standardized exams provide an excellent means of comparing our students’ performance relative to national norms. Results of the most recent exams are reported here:

  • CHM 111, College Chemistry I (Fall 2012): The average score on the ACS standardized exam administered to 381 students in multiple class sections corresponded to the 80th percentile nationally.

  • CHM 122, Organic Chemistry I (Spring 2012): The average score on the ACS standardized exam administered to 329 students in multiple class sections corresponded to the 59th percentile nationally.

  • CHM 223, Organic II (Fall 2012): The average score on the ACS standardized exam administered to 222 students in multiple class sections corresponded to the 64th percentile nationally.

  • CHM 280, College Chemistry II (Fall 2012): The average score on the ACS standardized exam administered to 55 students corresponded to the 78th percentile nationally.

  • CHM 370, Biochemistry (2012): The average score on the ACS standardized exam administered to 24 students corresponded to the 70th percentile nationally.

  • CHM 361, Inorganic Chemistry (Fall 2011): The average score on the ACS standardized exam administered to 93 students in multiple class sections corresponded to the 84th percentile nationally.

Post-graduation employment and enrollment of chemistry majors also indicated that our majors are highly trained and have met key competencies.  Data collected for Chemistry BA/BS graduates from May ’06 to May ’10 reveal the following placements: 28.5% medical/professional school, 28.5% graduate school; 10% chemistry research/industry; 7% teaching; 12% careers outside of chemistry; 2% government; and 12% unknown.