May 21, 2019
The American Chemical Society has recognized Florida Southern College’s Chemistry program as an ACS-approved chemistry degree offering the highest level of collegiate instruction. This premiere academic accreditation affirms to prospective students, institutions of higher learning, and potential employers that FSC’s Chemistry program meets the rigorous guidelines set by the ACS Committee on Professional Training, which approves only those programs that provide a broad-based, intellectually challenging experience in chemistry.
Dr. Carmen Gauthier, professor of Chemistry and department chair, said the ACS pre-application, application, and approval process had been underway for more than four years. Crucial aspects of the ACS evaluation guidelines include: the program’s depth and breadth; the qualifications of faculty members; the adequacy of facilities, instrumentation, and library holdings; and the opportunities for meaningful research.
Accreditation by the ACS has great significance to the College because “you get students who are really serious about being a chemist,” Dr. Gauthier said. “Our curriculum has to cover all the foundational courses in all five sub-disciplines of chemistry, and we need a faculty member with a degree specializing in each of the five fields. I’m grateful for all the hard work from our faculty members and for the unwavering support from FSC administration. It takes a lot of teamwork!”
The importance of this accreditation to FSC’s Chemistry students is both academic and career-oriented, Dr. Gauthier said. “Graduates will receive three years of free membership in the ACS, the largest professional organization in the world, which helps with job searches and networking, and to attend conferences at reduced prices. The industry is going to look for graduates from an ACS-certified program.”
FSC’s President Dr. Anne Kerr praised Dr. Gauthier and the Chemistry faculty for their efforts to earn accreditation. “By providing our students with the superior-quality chemistry education that defines an ACS-approved program, thereby preparing them to effectively pursue careers as scientific professionals, Florida Southern College continues to demonstrate its academic excellence.”
Additionally, Dr. Gauthier was selected in March as one of the first 20 faculty members nationwide to develop, test, and refine new classroom practices that can lead to better student learning in the field of inorganic chemistry. As a contributor to the groundbreaking project, conducted with support from the Undergraduate STEM Education program of the National Science Foundation, Dr. Gauthier has been named a VIPEr Fellow by the Interactive Online Network of Inorganic Chemists (IONiC).
The project’s participants will study the effects of classroom changes on student learning, interest, and motivation using classroom observations, analysis of student work, student surveys and faculty interviews. The Virtual Inorganic Pedagogical Electronic Resource (VIPEr) website — www.ionicviper.org — will be used as the project’s hub.
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