What is the change or innovation that is intended to address this issue?
Three major programmatic initiatives have been adopted:Flexible Curriculum
Early transition to research enterprise: Students
are now required to take only 15 hours of chemistry coursework prior to
Ph.D. candidacy. Remaining 21 hours can be taken after candidacy.
Beyond the 15 hours of chemistry coursework, students can take
non-chemistry courses, based on their needs and the recommendation of
their research advisor and/or advisory committee, in order to make up
the 36 hours of coursework required by the graduate school.
Opportunity for Interdisciplinarity:These
additional courses could be selected from disciplines such as
Biochemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biology, Teaching,
Communication, etc. Thus, opportunities for training and research
interdisciplinarity is greatly enhanced.Early Assessment of Commitment and Competency (Quality Control)
Summer Workshop for incoming graduate students:
A six-week summer workshop for all incoming graduate students is
focused on enhancing their core competencies at the undergraduate level
in the four classical divisions of chemistry (analytical, inorganic,
organic, and physical). The summer workshop also seeks to prepare the
students for the placement examinations, administered at the end of
American Chemical Society (ACS) standardized examinations in
Analytical, Inorganic, Organic, and Physical, will be given to all
incoming graduate students at the end of August. Students' performance
in each of these exams will be used to determine which of the chemistry
graduate courses the students would enroll in.
Special Courses to enhance preparedness for graduate studies:
Students who fail the ACS placement exam in an area would enroll in an
appropriate special topics course, and these special topics courses
would be in addition to the required 15 hours of chemistry coursework.
Students who do not pass the ACS placement exams in all four areas, or
who do not pass the special topics courses with letter grade of A or B
by the end of the first semester will be placed in the Master's
program, and those students who meet the placement exam requirements
will continue in the Ph.D. program.Integration of Professional Development into Curriculum
emphasis is placed on students' exposure to current literature and
topics through a series of cumulative exams. These exams will be based
on suggested literature topics and/or topics from departmental
seminars. Additionally, students will be required to give two seminars
to an Advisory Committee. One of the seminars shall be on a topic other
than the student's research, the other shall be a defense of the
student's dissertation proposal. The dissertation proposal shall be
written in form of a grant application, which could be used as a basis
for the application for candidacy.
Required Enrollment in a Professional Development Course:
As part of the requirement for Ph.D. candidacy, each student is now
required to enroll in at least one professional development course. One
of the courses offered in the Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) could be
used to meet this requirement. Ideally this course could include topics
such as: Responsible Conduct of Research, Ethical Case Studies,
Communication Skills, Grantsmanship, Manuscript Preparations, Teaching
and Learning as a Scholarly Activity.