Chemistry Major/Program Outcomes Assessment Goals


The ultimate goal of the chemistry program is to educate students in a way that will allow them to graduate as lifelong learners that are well prepared for their chosen careers.  In order to do this, faculty strive to establish and maintain a program of excellence that provides foundations and support for several different educational tracks, including (1) the chemistry baccalaureate (BA or BS) degrees; (2) the BSE degree for certification in chemistry teaching; (3) pre-professional programs, such as pre-engineering, pre-medicine, or pre-pharmacy; (4) the chemistry emphasis of the physical science MS degree; (5) the allied biological and physical sciences degree programs; and (6) the university-wide general education program. 

To that end, the following specific goals are directed:

1.      The chemistry faculty will strive to maintain a quality program in which faculty are knowledgeable in the subject matter being taught, including current research areas, and are enthusiastic about working with students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Assessment:  Evidence for the quality of the program is provided by continued recognition/certification (“accreditation”) from outside agencies, such as the American Chemical Society Committee on Professional Training (ACS-CPT) and NCATE.  Faculty competence and enthusiasm are continually evaluated by students through course evaluations, the exit interview, annual student focus groups, and alumni surveys.

2.      The chemistry faculty will continue to review and revise the curriculum to ensure that it is rigorous, logically sequenced, and reflective of the current state of the field.

Assessment:  Degree programs are regularly evaluated relative to certification guidelines established by ACS-CPT.  CPT reviews our program every five years to continue certification.  Programs are also compared to parallel programs at other institutions.  Student feedback is solicited via the exit questionnaire, annual student focus groups, and the alumni survey.

3.      Students graduating with a baccalaureate degree in chemistry should be proficient in the basic skills of chemistry.  They should

a.       have a functional knowledge of all basic areas of chemistry (analytical, organic, physical, inorganic, and biochemistry).

b.      be able to integrate their knowledge from each of these areas with critical thinking skills in order to become problem solvers.

c.       be proficient in the chemistry laboratory, especially with respect to the abilities to

  • follow and understand general laboratory practice guidelines, including safety.
  • perform qualitative chemical analyses.
  • perform chemical synthesis.
  • understand and use modern chemical instrumentation.

d.      be able to clearly articulate scientific information, both orally and in writing.

e.       be able to effectively use the scientific literature.

f.        have gained research experience via participation in a capstone research project.

Assessment:  The items above are required at various places throughout the curriculum, and student progress in these areas is evaluated by faculty.  The capstone research project is summarized by a written report, and results are often presented at professional meetings.  Students are also asked to evaluate their own preparation in several of these areas via the exit questionnaires, the exit interviews, focus groups, and alumni surveys.

4.      Students graduating with a baccalaureate degree in chemistry will be prepared for entry into professional schools, graduate programs, or the job market.

Assessment:  Students’ self-perception of preparation is assessed via alumni surveys.  Data relative to employment rates and/or admission to graduate or professional programs can be useful.  Anecdotal evidence concerning the skills of our graduates is often provided by employers.  In some cases, pre-professional school test scores (e.g., GRE, MCAT) may be appropriate.

5.      BSE students graduating with a chemistry certification will have a chemistry background that will allow them to be highly effective teachers at the secondary level.

Assessment:  Students will be evaluated during the student teaching component of their degree programs.  Students will also be required to pass the Praxis chemistry subject test, beginning in 2004.  In addition the graduates’ retrospective perceptions of their preparation is evaluated via the alumni survey.

Approved by the Chemistry Faculty

August 2003