Senate Document Number 1300S
Date of Senate Approval 2/10/00
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Statement of Faculty Senate Action:
APC Document 8: Creation of a Biochemistry Concentration within the BS Degree in Chemistry
Effective Date: Fall, 2000
Add on page 78, 1999-00 catalog
336 Bio-Organic Chemistry (3)
Designed specifically for science majors interested in biochemistry and molecular biology. The course begins to examine the chemistry of living systems by expanding upon the concepts discussed in organic chemistry in the context of biological systems. Topics will include noncovalent interactions and molecular recognition, catalyzed reactions, cofactors for biological reactions, energy storage in organic molecules, and the molecular basis for drug-action. Prerequisite: CHEM 232 with a grade of C or better. Spring.
Delete on page 79, 1999-00 catalog,
436 Biochemistry (3)
Modern biochemical concepts, including carbohydrates, amino acids, nucleic acids, proteins, metabolism, the chemistry of drugs, etc. Prerequisite: CHEM 334. On demand.
Add on page 79, 1999-00 catalog
436, 437 Biochemistry I and II (4,4)
Lecture and laboratory courses that deal with biochemistry from a chemistry perspective. The study begins with a review of properties of aqueous solutions and elements of thermodynamics and includes the study of the structures and functions of proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids; an introduction to the properties, reaction kinetics, and catalytic mechanisms of enzymes; metabolism; and the expression and transmission of genetic information. CHEM 436 prerequisite: CHEM 222, 334, 336. CHEM 437 prerequisite: CHEM 436 with a grade of C or better. CHEM 436: Fall. CHEM 437: Spring.
Add on page 74, 1999-00 catalog, after "IV. Other departmental . . . . .competency in chemistry."
"Concentration in Biochemistry
I. Required courses in the major--41-46 hours, including: CHEM 111, 144, 222, 223, 231, 232, 314, 315, 334, 335, 336, 412, 415, 416, 417, 436, 437; 3-4 hours of electives approved by department chair.
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; a grade of C or better in CHEM 415 to demonstrate oral competency; and a grade of C or better in CHEM 416 and 417 to demonstrate both a practical and a written competency in 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 should Chemistry's request for a biochemist not be approved. 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 majoring in chemistry 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 has a recruiting tool, more and more students will be selecting UNCA because of this biochemistry 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 biochemistry 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.
As was mentioned above, the world of chemistry has historically been divided into four major areas, analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. Biochemistry and other "lesser" areas 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. The technology explosion of the last twenty to thirty years has allowed biochemistry to become a major area of science that bridges the historically separate studies of chemistry and biology. This can be seen in our own state in the size and importance of the impact that Glaxo Wellcome and the rest of the Research Triangle Park biotech firms have had on the economy of North Carolina. Also, Glaxo Wellcome's impact can be seen at the university level with the significant financial support they have already given to UNC-Chapel Hill and UNCA. If UNCA expects to continue its growth as a National Liberal Arts College, as classified by the Carnegie Foundation, compete successfully with other institutions with the same classifications for the highest quality students and external support and resources, and meet our obligations as a public institution in a state where biotechnology is an important force, an option in biochemistry is a must.
Unlike the proposed concentration within the BA degree which is designed to take a broader, more interdisciplinary approach to the discipline, the concentration in biochemistry within the BS degree approaches the same types of subjects from a rigorous chemistry perspective. Not only would it be suitable for pre-med students, but it will provide an excellent foundation for those students interested in the more challenging MD/Ph.D. route, graduate school in biochemistry, or employment with a pharmaceutical company. With the correct choice of electives, it is also possible that a student could obtain American Chemical Society (ACS) certification.
While students currently have the option of creating their own major, high school students interested in biochemistry, medicine, pharmacy, and other health related fields, and their parents seem to prefer a more substantial option that is clearly integrated into the university curriculum. Data in support of this can be seen in the relative percentage of incoming freshman expressing an interest in pre-medicine. The advising program this summer identified twenty-six students who indicated an interest in pre-health programs of study. Obviously, there are additional students within the freshman class who are interested in going to medical school. However, the number who indicated it on their applications is important since many selective liberal arts institutions typically report 25-50% of their incoming freshmen as being interested in pre-medicine. It is also important to note that of the twenty-six students verbalizing an interest in medicine, over half of them have a record that is indicative of not being successful in a pre-health curriculum (i.e., SAT scores below or near 1000 and class ranks below the top 10%).
It is with the above issues in mind and the recognition of the difficulties and time associated with creating a new major at UNCA that the Chemistry Department proposes the creation of a Concentration in Biochemistry within the BS degree option in chemistry. The approach allows for a formal biochemistry option for current and prospective students with minimal impact on current resource levels. If the anticipated success of a biochemistry option is realized, additional resources necessary to meet the resulting demand would be warranted and handled through normal UNCA channels. The consensus of participants at a PKAL Biochemistry Workshop this summer (July 16-18, 1999 at Macalester College, attended by Professors Krumpe and Holmes) was that biochemistry programs were not a drain upon existing biology and chemistry departments. Most institutions saw their number of traditional majors remain at least constant, if not increase, as the number of biochemistry students grew. UNCA's admissions office has already indicated that they would find this biochemistry concentration to be a valuable recruiting tool. In addition to stimulating growth within the sciences, this option would also help to improve all programs across campus by bringing more top-tier students to UNCA. Support for this can again be seen at the selective liberal arts institutions that have 25-50% of their freshmen indicating an interest in pre-med studies. Since these schools typically have retention rates well above 80% and do not place 100+ students per year into medical school, much of the attrition in the pre-med program is attributable to students changing their career goals and majors.