Date of Senate Approval 03/06/03
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Statement of Faculty Senate Action:
APC Document 55: Addition of Chemistry of the Environment Concentration to the Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry.
I. Addition of Chemistry of the Environment Concentration to the Bachelor of Science Degree.
Add on page 74, after "III. Other departmental . . . . .competency in chemistry." and before "Major in Chemistry for the Bachelor of Arts Degree"
Concentration in Chemistry of the Environment
I. Required courses in the major--43 hours, including: CHEM 144, 145, 234, 235, 314, 328, 332, 334, 380, 413, 416, 417, 430 (environmental chemistry topic); ENVR 130; and a minimum of 9 hours of electives, to include at least one ENVR course, chosen from CHEM 315, 335, 336, 428, 429, 430, 436; ENVR 320, 321, 331, 338, 362, 382, 385. Due to the prerequisites for some of these elective courses, the total number of elective hours may be greater than 9. Students wishing to obtain ACS certification for their degree must choose CHEM 315, 335 and 436 as part of their elective hours.
II. Required courses outside the major--16 hours, including MATH 191, 192; PHYS 221 and 231 (or 222).
III. Other departmental requirements--Chemistry Department Comprehensive Examination and
a grade of C or better in CHEM 416 and 417 to demonstrate a practical, written, oral and
computer competency in chemistry."
II. Changes to the department narrative to reflect the addition of the Chemistry of the Environment Concentration to the Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry.
Add On page 73, in the second paragraph of the departmental narrative, after the 4th sentence,
"The B.S. with a Concentration in Biochemistry . . . pharmacy or veterinary medicine."
"The B.S. with a Concentration in Chemistry of the Environment, which also can be certified ACS-approved, is intended for students wishing either to seek employment or to attend graduate school in the area of environmental chemistry."
This change does not impact the day-to-day function of the Chemistry Department or its students. The proposed courses can be covered with existing resources. The immediate impact upon the departments of Mathematics and Physics would be minimal in a worst-case scenario and would most likely be of no impact since students already double-majoring in chemistry and environmental studies would simply be reclassified within the department. However, the hope is that as this concentration becomes established and the admissions office has the opportunity to use it as a recruiting tool, more and more students will be selecting UNCA because of this environmental chemistry option. The impact of this increased enrollment can then be handled through normal administrative channels for resource allocation since these students, who are currently fulfilling their desire for environmental chemistry elsewhere, will be bringing new resources to UNCA. This change will not impact major, minor, or University requirements, the education Department's Licensure Programs, or other departments that require chemistry courses.
The world of chemistry has historically been divided into four major areas, analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. Environmental chemistry, biochemistry, etc. have historically been categorized as sub-areas of specialization that would require a student to concentrate their studies and not broaden them. However, times have changed and society has realized that the environment is not indestructible. Increasing amounts of energy and resources are expended each year in an attempt to better understand, repair, and prevent damage to the environment.
As is the case with chemistry and biology, where systems are often studied from different points of view, chemistry and environmental studies too approach problems in the environment from different perspectives. Because a chemistry education begins with the atom and progresses outward and upward in scale, it compliments the macro to micro approach of an environmental studies experience. For example, students in environmental studies courses learn about the biological, chemical, physical, and societal implications of human impact on the environment; the sources, sinks and controls of air pollution, and the legal aspects and meteorological factors that influence techniques for quantifying air pollution; and the problems associated with the generation, detection and disposal of hazardous chemicals, industrial and municipal wastes, pesticides, food pollutants, and radioactive wastes. However, the nature of UNCA and the design of the Environmental Studies curriculum do not provide for a detailed understanding of the compounds and chemical reactions that are responsible for these environmental problems; nor do they accommodate the development of solutions. On the other hand, students in a number of chemistry courses and research groups, without fully understanding the context of their studies and work, learn about and develop solutions to environmental problems by designing new analytical measurement techniques and instruments, synthesizing novel compounds to be used as more efficient and less toxic agricultural chemicals, or by synthesizing and studying the reaction of new replacement compounds for fluorohydrocarbons before they are released into the environment.
The vacuum that is created for many students when they choose one major or the other has been addressed by a growing number of students in recent years through a double major in chemistry and environmental studies. Unfortunately, this approach typically results in over 100 credit hours of "major" work and at least two additional semesters. In light of these numbers and the growing need for scientists to address environmental problems, the Department of Chemistry has elected to create an interdisciplinary option in Chemistry of the Environment within the BS degree option in chemistry. Because of the strength of the faculty in both the Chemistry and Environmental Studies departments and the comprehensive nature of their respective curricula, a curriculum capable of preparing students for either graduate school or employment after graduation has been created with existing faculty and courses. Initial interest can easily be accommodated with existing departmental resources and future growth, should it occur, can be handled through normal UNCA channels. In addition to stimulating growth within the sciences, this option will also help to improve all programs across campus by placing UNCA ahead of most undergraduate institutions in the country and allow it to compete with other premiere liberal arts institutions like Furman University and Connecticut College for additional top-tier students.