The Department of Chemistry educates a large number of undergraduates, who have a choice of two degree programs:
The major in chemistry provides training for students planning careers in the chemical sciences and also for those whose interests lie in biology, medicine, earth sciences, secondary education, business, and law. More than half of the total Berkeley undergraduate population will, at some stage of their degree program, take a course in the Department of Chemistry and the curriculum of the Department is designed to satisfy the diverse needs of all these students.
Each chemistry graduate will have completed an integrated, rigorous program which includes foundational course work in chemistry and in-depth course work in chemistry or chemistry-related fields. The ACS-certified degree further emphasizes laboratory experience and the development of professional skills. Advanced coursework and educational activities outside the traditional classroom, such as independent research, provide students the opportunity to conduct individual research projects or participate as a member of a research team. Many undergraduate students also benefit from taking our graduate courses in synthetic and physical chemistry.
At graduation, chemistry majors will have a set of fundamental competencies that are knowledge-based, performance/skills-based, and affective.
The following figure represents a mapping of the curriculum for representative undergraduate programs in Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the Department of Chemistry.
Details regarding the content of these courses, admissions, degree requirements, scholarship requirements and academic policies can be found in the College of Chemistry brochure (updated annually) and at: http://chemistry.berkeley.edu/student_info/undergrad_info/publications/
A departmental Assessment Committee will be formed with rotating membership comprised of faculty and staff. This committee will analyze data from exams, lab reports, student oral and written reports and presentations, and an Alumni Survey. The Assessment Committee will summarize its assessment activities at the end of each academic year and will then report the results to the Department of Chemistry via the Department Chair. The Committee will make recommendations on how the major could be strengthened. The Department will decide upon and carry out appropriate follow-ups to all assessment activities, which may involve consultations with external bodies (alumni, industry, etc).
All students receive academic advising at least once per semester. The adviser discusses student interests, potential career paths, and advises the student on program option selection and on technical elective choices. Advisers review technical areas where students may experience difficulty. The adviser identifies areas of difficulty based on student grades in specific courses and by discussion with the students, and recommends elective courses and other resources (e.g., tutoring) as needed, to ensure students meet program objectives.
Student surveys and other feedback
The Department of Chemistry surveys graduating seniors to gather data for assessment of program objectives. In addition, every spring semester an Honors Tea is held which provides a forum for the students to express their reactions and insights.
External measures of program effectiveness
A range of external indicators provides excellent feedback to the Chemistry Department on the extent to which undergraduates are meeting their program goals. For example, graduates continue to be in strong demand in a wide range of post-graduate professions. In addition to being strongly recruited to the best Ph.D. programs in the country, Berkeley's graduates take up positions including medical schools, industry, and State and Federal government. (For details see: http://chemistry.berkeley.edu/about/facts.php#leaders) In addition, the chemistry programs at Berkeley are approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS) and students are encouraged to apply for ACS-certification.
The cumulative nature of the chemistry degree programs provides a learning spiral that builds on itself as the student progresses from freshman through to senior year. At the upper division level, the provision of research experiences gives the student and the faculty the opportunity to put much of this learning into practical use. Whether they get this experience in a research laboratory (receiving course credit — and a grade), or in upper division laboratory courses in physical, inorganic, organic, or analytical chemistry, each student can be evaluated on their ability to apply their accumulated knowledge and skills to a research topic.
A summary showing the relationship between learning outcomes and assessment and evaluation methods can be seen the Appendix in Table II.
The educational objectives of the Department of Chemistry are set out in the College of Chemistry Announcement, and can be viewed at: http://chemistry.berkeley.edu/student_info/undergrad_info/publications/
These elements combine to form the continuous cycle of goal-setting, communication, assessment of attainment, and review and refinement of the curriculum undertaken by the department and represented by the schematic shown in Attachment II.
We are proud of the goals established for the students in our program, and we view the achievement of those goals as a collaboration of the faculty and students. Such achievement has been consistently recognized by national rankings and assessments, and attested to by the reputation the department continues to enjoy internationally. At the same time we are cognizant of the continuing effort to be made to reevaluate and refine the goals of the department and their effective achievement as the practice of chemistry and chemical biology evolves.
An important aspect of the Department's approach to learning outcomes and student assessment is the degree to which this process affects our longer-term instructional planning. Specific action items are proposed:
Learning Outcomes (see p. 2)
|4A/B||Majors General Chem||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|108||Inorganic Synthesis Laboratory||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|115||Organic Synthesis Laboratory||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|125||Physical Chemistry Laboratory||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Assessment & Evaluation Methods|
|1||Final exams in Chem 4A/B, Chem 112A/B, Chem 104A/B, and Chem 120A/B will be reviewed for randomly selected students for appropriate content knowledge.|
|2||A portfolio of final exams in Chem 120A/B, Chem 104A/B, Chem 135, and laboratory reports in Chem 105, 108, 115, and 125 will be evaluated.|
|3||Students will successfully complete computational problems or computer modeling exercises in Chem 105 and 125. Samples of student work products will be collected and evaluated.|
|4||Students will complete a library tutorial assignment in Chem 108, which will include retrieving information using modern library search tools about a topic, chemical, chemical technique, or an issue relating to chemistry. A graded literature report will be evaluated. Laboratory reports in Chem 105, 108, 115, and 125 will be evaluated.|
|5||A portfolio of laboratory reports in Chem 105, 108, 115, and 125 will be reviewed.|
|6||A portfolio of laboratory reports in Chem 105, 108, 115, and 125 will be reviewed.|
|7||Laboratory reports in Chem 105, 108, 115, and 125 will be evaluated.|
|8||Sample experimental reports from Chem 108 and 125 will be compiled and evaluated. Student presentations in both courses will be evaluated.|
|9||Alumni will be surveyed and asked whether they were adequately prepared for their careers and whether they were provided with an adequate understanding of their career options.|