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Chemistry and Biochemistry: Undergraduate Programs


The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is a newly merged department (2009) housing five undergraduate programs. The Bachelor of Science degree programs in Chemistry and Biochemistry provide rigorous education for those interested in pursuing careers or graduate studies in science. The BS in Chemistry is certified by the American Chemical Society. The Bachelor of Arts degree programs in Chemistry and Biochemistry each provide a strong science foundation for those interested in pursuing non-laboratory careers. The Department also offers a BS in Science Education with a Chemistry option, which prepares students for a career in secondary school science education. Students completing the program meet the requirements for secondary science certification by the Arizona Department of Education.

Expected Learning Outcomes: 
Chemistry and Biochemistry BA and BS Programs
The BA and BS degree programs with majors in Chemistry and Biochemistry share several expectations and goals for all graduates. Educational outcomes are classified in four major areas and cover the basic knowledge, skills, and attitudes that students completing a BS or BA degree are expected to develop. 
1. Key Concepts of the major – Chemistry or Biochemistry
2. Laboratory Practice, Information Resources, Safety Practices and Ethics
3. Creative Scientific Inquiry
4. Communication in Science
Assessment rubrics are provided below for each major and outline the expected outcomes within each of these categories. For each outcome, the course(s) in which the student gets the opportunity to master the knowledge or skill is specified, along with the method of assessment. In some cases, the findings of the assessment activities are provided which allow for continued program improvement. Please note that this is an ongoing process and the documents are works in progress.
Science Education BS (Chemistry Option) Program
Along with the Chemistry major content listed above, the Science Education major also includes mastery of educational skills and knowledge as categorized below, and leads to teaching certification at the secondary school level:
1. Student development and learning
2. Instruction and assessment
3. Classroom management
4. Teaching Profession
As assessment rubric detailing outcomes, opportunities for mastery, and assessment methods for the Science Education major is also available at the link below.
Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
Advanced lab and/or research courses ( from among BIOC 463a, 492, 498, 499, CHEM 247b, 326, 400a, 400b, 412, 446, 447, 499, 492, 498) are completed by all students. Within each laboratory course, students are expected to work as authentic chemists and biochemists, (individually and in groups) to critically analyze problems and use whatever means they have at their disposal to solve these original problems. Students are expected to carefully consider the problem at stake and thoroughly research a scientifically sound approach to gathering the necessary data or information to support a proposal to either solve the problem, or to get more information that will further lead them to solving the problem. The proposals, which involve multiple principles and techniques of chemistry are created by the students and executed under supervision. If an attempt fails, students may either try a modified approach after considering the possible source of the problem; or if time runs out, they may rationalize a new way to proceed. This process involves critical analysis of a problem and adequate skill in solving the problem.
In addition, students are taught to think critically and solve problems in all lecture classes. To measure these outcomes, faculty embed questions in the exams that test content knowledge and challenge students to apply that knowledge to solve situational problems indicative of what successful chemists actually must be able to do. The process of critical analysis and how the student approaches the problem is the focus; and in cases where many answers are possible, they are accepted as long as the student provides sound scientific justification for how that answer was determined. By properly substantiating their claims with thoughtful connections to chemical principles, students provide evidence of critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Indirect Programmatic Goals
The Department also assesses the quality and effectiveness of its degree programs in terms of recruitment, graduation of students (specifically of merit scholars and those of populations under-represented in science) and post baccalaureate retention of students within the STEM fields. Assessment rubric to follow.


Updated date: Tue, 09/14/2010 - 10:13