The mission of the Department embraces interdependent aspects of education, research, and service. In education, the Department seeks to provide a comprehensive education meeting professional guidelines for students majoring in chemistry at both the baccalaureate and masters levels, to provide high quality educational support for majors with a chemistry component in their curriculum, and to educate the general student body about the vitality and relevance of chemistry as a contemporary science. In scholarship, the Department seeks to expand the boundaries of chemical knowledge while simultaneously encouraging students to expand their intellectual horizons and develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills through faculty-directed independent undergraduate and graduate research. In service, faculty members are expected to serve as advisors, mentors, and career counselors to students and to use their expertise in service to the University, the profession of chemistry, and the larger community.
The Department has a unique role to play in both graduate and undergraduate education within and beyond the University’s traditional service region. Because the Department has a graduate program focused differently than Ph.D. granting institutions do, it has a much stronger orientation towards individualized education at both the baccalaureate and masters level. Class sizes are small, and the level of individual student-faculty contact is high. The Department’s M.S. program is particularly well-suited for those students who are from other disciplines, not sufficiently prepared, or who are not ready to proceed directly to a Ph.D. program, and for those seeking specifically a terminal M.S. degree. At the same time, the Department’s size and resources offer significant advantages relative to private liberal arts colleges and public two- and four-year community colleges. The Department seeks to maintain a faculty with a wide variety of professional interests representing all areas of chemistry. This supports classes and research opportunities, which span the entire chemical spectrum. The Department seeks to remain well-equipped with modern chemical instrumentation, so that students learn to use the tools of the chemist’s trade.