The Department of Chemistry with the College of Science is uniquely positioned to support the OSU mission of producing competitive graduates, creating new knowledge, and rigorously promoting excellence. The Department develops robust thinkers and problem solvers through experiential learning opportunities involving laboratory practice, research, internships and professional development workshops. The Department maintains a broad and deep research profile to effectively support the three signature areas of distinction in OSU Strategic Plan 3.0: Advancing the Science of Sustainable Earth Ecosystems; Improving Human Health and Wellness; and Promoting Economic Growth and Social Progress. The Department fosters a commitment to excellence through unwavering dedication to development of intellectual capacity and skills in service to humanity.
Chemistry is viewed as The Central Science due to its overarching impact on the biological and physical sciences and is uniquely positioned to solve many of the major societal challenges facing the World today (e.g. energy, disease, climate). As such, every top-tier academic institution is home to a top-tier chemistry program. The success of the Chemistry Department is inseparable from the University’s stated vision to “be among the Top 10 land grant institutions in America.”
Chemistry graduates are highly employable - chemists maintain one of the lowest unemployment rates by profession in the Nation with unemployment for ACS members as of March 1, 2013 at 3-4% as compared to an overall unemployment rate of 7.5%. Based on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth for chemists and materials scientists is expected to be 6% over the next decade. The report specifically comments that “Chemists and materials scientists with advanced degrees, particularly those with a Ph.D. and work experience, are expected to experience better opportunities.”
The OSU Chemistry Department is a vibrant enterprise consisting of 21 tenure stream faculty, 1 professor of practice faculty member, 12 instructional faculty, 13 emeritus faculty, and 17 staff who support approximately 120 graduate students, 25 postdoctoral and research associates, 200 chemistry majors, 800 chemistry minors and thousands of students who take our classes every year. The Department produces on average 11 PhD, 5 MS, and over 30 BS graduates annually. Our faculty members are nationally recognized and well-supported by external grants.
Approximately 1/3 of the tenure stream faculty moved into the new Linus Pauling Science Center in Fall 2011. LPSC has provided a modern research and learning environment for our students and faculty. LPSC enabled Chemistry to recruit multiple new faculty members, expand its graduate program, provide innovative education experiences for our General Chemistry for Science Majors sequence, and outstanding shared instrumentation facilities for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and Electron Microscopy (EM). Additonal LPSC-like space is needed to house the remaining 2/3 of the tenure stream faculty and the vast majority of the undergraduate program. Currently, these aspects of the Department's mission are primarily housed in Gilbert Hall and Gilbert Addition. Gilbert Hall was completed in 1939 (remodeled partially in 1981) and Gilbert Addition was constructed in 1981.
We draw energy and inspiration from being the largest PhD program on campus while delivering the 3rd largest number of student credit hours of instruction for the University [> 60,000 Student Credit Hours (SCH) annually]. Our discipline is exciting, growing, contributing to social well-being, and it is important to student & University success. We want to be of greater service by growing the Department. We offer a strategic plan that leads to distinction in all aspects of University life - research, student success and service. We are excited about the potential of expanding this impact as we grow to meet our aspirational peers [21 tenure stream faculty vs. 26.6 for Tier II schools, 35.8 for Tier I schools and 43.7 for Top 10 Land Grant schools and a improve our ratio of students to tenure stream faculty [>1200 students per tenure stream faculty member vs. 975 for Top 10 Land Grant Schools].
Our faculty has the ability to tap the full breadth of federal funding agencies (NIH, NSF, DOE, EPA, DOD etc.) and industrial opportunities, exemplified by a $20M NSF Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry. Additionally, the Department is also a home for innovation, resulting in numerous startup companies & licensed technologies. Furthermore, we are recognized as a campus leader in instruction and have created a nationally-recognized program of online education, currently offering over 6,000 SCH annually to students worldwide.
Our program is distinguished by a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit that permeates the Department at all levels. We are internationally recognized for making breakthrough fundamental discoveries and translating them to practical use. This strength is manifested in the numerous patented research findings of OSU Chemistry researchers that have been licensed by industry. The Department is proud of the faculty and student founders of our nine separate start-up companies. Our spirit of innovation is externally recognized through program awards such as the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry (CSMC), a Phase-II Center for Chemical Innovation funded by the National Science Foundation. The Center conducts curiosity-driven and use-inspired research that advances the chemistry enterprise and transforms the next generation of products. Through a nationally unique education program, the Center teaches chemistry students how to effectively translate very basic research outcomes into commercial products. Our entrepreneurial culture fosters commitment to a nationally recognized e-campus program, where students from around the world experience leading-edge online technologies developed by the same inspired OSU Chemistry faculty who deliver our on-campus courses.
Through partnerships with the College and the University, the Department will build on its strong foundation to improve Department-controlled measures of success (e.g. external grant support, external fellowships/awards for students and faculty, quality of BS and PhD graduates, and enhanced student achievement in service courses) and work with our College, University & Foundation partners for strategic investments in the Department in order to achieve national and international recognition of our strengths in research and education. Our Department prides itself on building a diverse and vibrant community. Half of our last twelve faculty hires (three tenure stream faculty and three instructional faculty members) have been female – including 5 female hires since 2012. Although an important track record has been established, the Department is focused on further improvement to expand our diversity. The Department is committed to judicious use of new resources and to make strategic investments that address modern trends and establish leadership positions. Furthermore, the Department believes in a culture of assessment, from the individual classroom to the collaborative research setting to Department-level programs. Action items recommended in this document will be tracked, and performance outcomes will be reviewed to evaluate their effectiveness.