The mission of the Department of Chemistry is to create and maintain programs of excellence in the areas of research, education and public outreach. Our goals are
(1) continue to attract, develop and retain world-renowned faculty,
(2) maintain state of the art research and teaching facilities,
(3) recruit outstanding graduate students,
(4) provide innovative, dedicated classroom instruction at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, and
(5) communicate the excitement of chemistry to the public at large.
To help us accomplish these goals we remain dedicated to a core set of values: excellence in teaching and research, respect for all members of the Department and University, diversity in our
students, faculty and staff, and service to the citizens of the world.
The Chemistry Department has made a number of significant changes over the last 20 years to enhance the undergraduate program. In 1989 a new position was instituted, Assistant Department Head for Undergraduate Education. The Assistant Head established a Chemical Education Interest Group (CEIG), which started holding weekly brown bag lunches to discuss the undergraduate program. This group started with six faculty members, and has since grown to around fifteen active members including staff, faculty, and emeritus faculty who continue to meet weekly. The CEIG currently functions like an advisory/steering committee for our undergraduate program.
In 1992 the undergraduate program received new space in our instructional lab building for a Chemistry Resource Center (CRC). The CRC has become the hub of our undergraduate chemistry program and includes offices for administrative staff and several faculty members, a tutorial room, a computer room, and an organic instrument room.
Over the last 20 years we have made significant new investments in our laboratories, primarily by creating positions for laboratory directors, which are full-time, non-tenure track faculty appointments. These positions include a Director of General Chemistry Labs (Joe Keiser), Associate Director of General Chemistry Labs (Mary Shoemaker), Director of Organic Labs (Sheryl Rummel with the help of Jackie Bortiatynski), Director of Analytical Chemistry Labs (Dan Sykes), and Director of Physical Chemistry Labs (Bratoljub Milosavljevic). Two other non-tenure track positions have been established, an organic lecture/lab position (Kate Masters), and a coordinator of general chemistry lectures (Mary Jo Bojan). These eight non-tenure track instructors complement the teaching efforts of our tenure-track faculty by teaching all of the undergraduate laboratory courses as well as a number of the larger service courses.
Over the past twelve years we have graduated on average 35 chemistry majors per year. There are approximately 40 faculty members in the Chemistry Department, which means that there is close to a 1:1 relationship between the number of graduating seniors and faculty members.
With the resources and opportunities of a major research university in a welcoming, student-centered environment, Penn State Erie, The Behrend College offers a unique learning experience to more than 4,700 undergraduate and graduate students.
Penn State Behrend is a four-year, residential college offering thirty-four bachelor's degrees, two masterís degrees, and six associate degree programs. Although our campus is the second-largest in the Penn State system next to University Park, our faculty-to-student ratio of 1:16 provides students with a personalized learning experience from accomplished instructors.
Located on a wooded 854-acre campus, Penn State Behrend is just minutes away from the heart of Erie, PA, the fourth largest city in the state. The campus is alive with more than 110 clubs and organizations, 21 NCAA Division III menís and womenís varsity athletic teams, and several intercollegiate and intramural sports. Nearly 1,700 students live on campus in traditional residence halls, suite-style halls, and apartment buildings.
Research and outreach are at the heart of our mission at Penn State Behrend. Annually, the college funds nearly $250,000 in undergraduate research opportunities and operates more than two dozen outreach centers, programs, and initiatives.
The School of Science is home to eight programs including biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, math education, science, physics, and nursing. Chemistry at Penn State Behrend offers students engaging lectures and laboratory classes taught by enthusiastic professors. Undergraduates in the Behrend Chemistry Program will study the fundamentals of chemistry with introductory courses in general, organic and analytical chemistry then take advanced courses in physical and inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, chemical instrumentation, and literature.† Special interest courses including advanced organic, spectroscopy, and crystallography allow students the freedom to choose courses geared towards their career path.† In advanced laboratory courses, students will have the opportunity to obtain hands-on experience with modern instrumentation.† The program is approved by the American Chemical Society and is taught in the $6 million newly renovated Otto Behrend Science Chemistry Laboratories.
A particular strength of the Behrend Chemistry Program is the undergraduate research requirement. Involvement in independent research projects under the direction of a faculty member allows our students to work on novel scientific problems gaining valuable real-world experience.† Many undergraduate research projects have led Behrend chemistry students to present their findings at regional and/or national meetings and publish in well-respected scientific journals.
For more information of the Behrend Chemistry Program, please visit our homepage.