Welcome to the The Catalyst in its new online format. We are thrilled that our annual print publication, The Catalyst, will now continue as a year-round blog. In the blog we will report happenings in the department and hope to more effectively keep in touch with our alumni, students and friends. With the blogging format we also hope to hear from you. So please feel free to leave your comments!
The department has grown. A great deal has happened in the department since the last print edition of The Catalyst. The department has grown significantly in the past two years. Six new faculty members joined the department, four new tenure-track assistant professors (two in 2013 and two in 2014) and two new visiting assistant professors in 2013.
We are expanding our use of online teaching. In December of 2014, five faculty members participated in the DePaul Online Teaching Services (DOTS) training, making our total number of DOTS-trained faculty rise to seven, one half of the department. With DOTS training comes the commitment to innovate our course offerings by adding more hybrid, flipped classroom, or online courses. These formats provide students with schedule flexibility and will boost student learning. So far, one graduate course (Advanced Physical Chemistry II) has been offered as a hybrid course and one undergraduate course (Survey of Biochemistry) has been offered as a hybrid or online course. In addition to providing schedule flexibility and teaching materials that students can access anytime anywhere, online courses such as the online Survey of Biochemistry also help serve non-degree-seeking, working students who find it difficult to come to campus for classes. In the coming academic year, the department will offer introductory courses in the General Chemistry sequence, foundation courses in Probability and Statistics and Biochemistry, as well as the physical sciences Capstone course as hybrid or flipped-classroom courses.
Changes to the M.S. program. The department has also made a number of curriculum changes including redistribution of courses throughout the academic year and the proposal of converting the current Polymer and Coatings Science track within the M.S. program to a separate M.S. program.
We have added more teaching labs. At the end of 2014, the College of Science and Health (CSH) completed the build-out of the 4th floor of the Andrew J. McGowan Building (McGowan South) where the Department of Chemistry has been located since December of 2008. The Department of Chemistry gained additional teaching labs to help accommodate a growing science student population. In that process, the department converted its physical chemistry teaching lab on the 3rd floor into a second organic chemistry teaching lab. The physical chemistry lab was relocated to the 4th floor. The department also gained a 3rd General Chemistry teaching lab on the 4th floor as well as two new research labs. The development of new research labs leaves room for growth in the near future.
A productive year of research. Our faculty continues to be productive in advising undergraduate and graduate students in research. In 2014, they published 31 peer-reviewed journal articles, 19 of which were on work performed at DePaul. A total of 115 students, mostly undergraduates, were coauthors; 78 of these were involved in research projects in polymer chemistry while taking Organic Chemistry III Lab. Our faculty has also been actively seeking internal and external grants supporting research and teaching innovation. Among awarded grants are three DePaul-RFUMS (Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science) Pilot Grants and a Department of Energy user-access grant to the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory.
Stay tuned! These are just highlights of the changes in 2014. For detailed stories on some of these changes, please check out future posts within this blog. We will also use The Catalyst blog to advertise and review events, so keep an eye out for those posts as well.