Lock Haven, PA. – After a three-year review process, the Chemistry program at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania received notification from the American Chemical Society (ACS) that its program meets standards and guidelines for offering ACS approved degrees in chemistry. Lock Haven University is a member of the Pennsylvania State
System of Higher Education (PASSHE), the largest provider of higher education in
the commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 250 degree and certificate
programs in more than 120 areas of study. Nearly 405,000 system alumni live and
work in Pennsylvania.
The American Chemical Society (ACS) Committee on Professional Training (CPT) recently decided that Lock Haven University will be added to its roster of nearly 600 institutions offering ACS-approved programs in chemistry. The determination came after completion of a four year team effort by all LHUP chemistry faculty, which included the submission of a self-study to ACS in May 2006, participation in a program review with CPT at the August 2006 ACS meeting, and hosting of an evaluation visit by a CPT member in March 2008.
Established in 1936, the ACS Committee on Professional Training has as its primary objective maintaining and improving the quality of chemical education. The Committee's activities include developing and administering guidelines that define high-quality undergraduate chemistry programs and monitoring trends, developments, and problems in the discipline.
“Being recognized by peers is always gratifying, especially when it supports the notion that you have a high quality program such as the chemistry program,” said LHUP President Keith Miller. “I would like to congratulate all the members of the chemistry department for receiving certification from the American Chemical Society, which is the premiere U.S. professional society for this scientific community.”
For LHUP chemistry majors, a certified degree in chemistry is a valuable professional credential that means a student has completed a comprehensive academic chemistry curriculum in an ACS-approved department. “The requirements of the certified degree are valued by potential employers and graduate schools alike,” said Jacqueline Whitling, chair of LHUP’s Department of Chemistry. “Potential employers and graduate school admissions committees recognize that these students have passed a thorough course of study and are well-prepared for employment or advanced study."
Whitling stated that “procurement of ACS approval will broaden the attraction of additional top tier high school students to the sciences at LHUP”. Approximately 30 percent of LHUP's chemistry graduates already enter Ph.D. programs in diverse fields such as materials science, nanoscience, biochemistry, biomedical engineering and organic chemistry. Recent graduates have been accepted into such institutions as Princeton University, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Bucknell University, Virginia Tech, Penn State University, University of Delaware, and Purdue University. About 50 percent go directly into professional chemist industrial positions with corporations such as Corning, Avery-Dennison, Croda, and Rohm & Haas. The remaining students enter successful careers as secondary education instructors, completing the circle of learning for potential students.
Obtaining American Chemical Society approval has been a team project involving all members of the Department of Chemistry and university administrators.
Whitling noted that special recognition deservedly goes to Dr. Steve Coval as the department’s ACS coordinator, and past chair, Dr. Kurt Rublein for facilitating the process. During the fall of 2006, these two faculty members spearheaded the department’s effort for approval by travelling to the San Francisco ACS meeting to interact with the CPT review panel. “The chemistry department has some extremely talented scientists, who are very motivated, and are dedicated teachers,” Whitling said.