New major in chemistry added to Tusculum offerings

Posted on 25 February 2013 by srichey@tusculum.edu

New laboratory equipment was installed last year for the chemistry program.

Tusculum College will be reintroducing chemistry as a major for fall semester 2013. The change will expand the current chemistry minor into a major.  Students will retain the ability to minor in chemistry if they choose.

The Bachelor of Science in chemistry was approved to be reinstated by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges in January.

According to Melinda Dukes, vice president for academic affairs, the major was last available to Tusculum College students during the 1976-1977 academic year.

“Bringing back chemistry as a major is an additional opportunity we have to offer our students,” said Dr. Dukes. “Our students in the sciences have been very successful, and we expect that the chemistry major will provide even more career and graduate school options for Tusculum students.”

The major is available this coming fall of 2013 and current Tusculum College students who are interested in pursuing chemistry may register for it during this spring’s registration.   New students will be able to consider the major as they register during the summer registration days. Enrollment is projected to be between eight and 10 students by the second year.

Recently, Tusculum College invested in the major by purchasing equipment and other useful tools including high performance liquid chromatography, infrared spectrometer, atomic absorption spectrometer, gas chromatography and a visible spectrometer. These new instruments, partially funded by gifts from alumni, will allow the program to adequately equip our chemistry majors for a career in industry or graduate studies.

Additionally, Dr. Richard Thompson joined the Tusculum College faculty as assistant professor of chemistry last fall. Thompson has a bachelor’s in chemistry with a minor in mathematics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry from Syracuse University.

The major is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in the four principle subdisciplines—organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, physical chemistry and inorganic chemistry.

According to Thompson, students completing the major will be prepared for a successful career in chemical sciences, as well as have a strong foundation for pursuing graduate study either in chemistry or the allied health fields.

Dr. Thompson was recently awarded a $10,000 Faculty Fellowship from the Appalachian College Association which he will use to implement an undergraduate research program with Tusculum College students.

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