Consider for a moment which institution of higher learning in the state of New Jersey produces the greatest number of American Chemical Society (ACS)-certified baccalaureate degrees in Chemistry. If you said Princeton for prestige or Rutgers for size, you would be wrong. According to the August 23, 2010 issue of Chemical and Engineering News, TCNJ tops the ranks when it comes to turning out ACS-certified graduates, with a whopping 30 degrees bestowed in 2008-2009.
“I think it speaks to the rise in popularity of not only the Chemistry program at TCNJ, but the College in general,” explained Dr. David Hunt, Chair of the Chemistry Department. “Also, success begets success, and I think the reputation and post-graduation success of the graduates of our program is responsible in no small part for this recognition.”
Among the 653 programs nationally, the TCNJ Chemistry Department ranked in the top 4% (23rd place) in 2008-2009 for the number of ACS-certified bachelor’s degrees awarded.
The objective of ACS-certification is to encourage institutions to develop and maintain a high-quality program of laboratory intensive instruction in chemistry. In turn, according to the ACS website, employers find graduates of approved programs to be better prepared for technical employment. The degree suits those whose career goals include employment as a professional chemist, involvement in research, or graduate school in chemistry. A non-ACS-certified degree is also available here at TCNJ, which may be more appropriate for some students pursuing secondary education, postgraduate studies in the healing arts (medicine, dentistry, or veterinary school), or for students seeking double majors or a major with a double minor.
“The ACS certification indicates a greater level of rigor with respect to laboratory study compared to a non-ACS certified degree,” said Hunt. “It has only been within the past 10 years that the number of ACS-certified graduates has significantly increased; however, this is the first time we have ranked at this high level nationally (in the top 4%). Needless to say we are pleasantly surprised and thrilled.”
To what does he attribute the success? “The key element is the quality of our faculty and their deep engagement of our students in undergraduate research,” Hunt explained. The recognition of TCNJ as a top-tier public undergraduate institution is also a factor, as it has served to attract high-caliber students.
“In addition, the emphasis on undergraduate research in our curriculum has been promoted and supported by Dean Osborn, Provost Bresnahan, and President Gitenstein,” he concluded.
To learn more about the TCNJ Chemistry Department, visit chemistry.pages.tcnj.edu
By Jessica Corry