Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
The central purpose of Ohio University’s Department of Chemistry and
Biochemistry is the intellectual, personal, and a professional development of its
students. The Department is distinguished by an internationally renowned
faculty, whose research and scholarly activity in the Department has advanced
knowledge across many disciplines.
The Department will rise to national prominence in research. The
Department will be recognized for the excellence of its faculty and the balance
they maintain between teaching and research; for their students engagement in
scholarship, leadership, and international education; for their extensive network
of partnerships; for the diverse and inclusive environs; for their loyal and
engaged alumni, and for the commitment to addressing society’s educational,
social, economic and cultural challenges.
CORE VALUES AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES
As Ohio’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry strives to achieve
its vision, so will Ohio University, because a shared set of fundamental
principles will guide its decisions.
1. Strong undergraduate programs with a liberal arts core are a vital and
2. Strong graduate programs are necessary to achieve our educational,
research, and creative mission.
3. All forms of research, scholarship, and creative activity are vital to the
intellectual life of the university and their integration into the undergraduate
and graduate curricula is a key component of student success.
4. Learning at Ohio University is enhanced by creating a community of students,
faculty, and staff who come from diverse backgrounds. That community
benefits from our commitment to international education and the inclusion of
global perspectives in our curricula.
5. Advising, mentoring, personal interaction, and active engagement among
faculty, staff, and alumni greatly enhance the educational experience.
6. Learning is derived from the total college experience, including activities
both inside and outside the classroom.
7. Shared governance — the inclusion of input from all constituents is central
to our decision-making process.
8. Our continuing success requires judgments about selective investments in
initiatives that will advance our mission.
9. Accountability is essential and requires continual assessment, planning,
decision making and continual improvements.
CURRENT STRENGTH AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry ranks 3rd (in students,
papers and grants) in the State (Council for Chem. Research 2000-2005 survey)
after Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati, and 10% above the
average for third quartile departments nationwide. This significant
improvement in ranking compared to ten years ago has occurred despite
predominantly outdated facilities (a 38 year-old building with no major
renovations) an extremely high teaching load (undergraduate declared
major/faculty FTE ratio is 206% higher than Ohio average and 122% higher than
national average) fewer graduate teaching assistants per FTE than our peer
institutions (21% lower TA budget than the national average) and the lack of a
campus instrumentation center.
Greater than half (55%) of the 19 Group I faculty in the Department were
hired within the past seven years. As such, it is a very young Department with
many recently tenured (3) or still tenure-probationary (6) faculty. All of these
new hires were recruited as research-intensive faculty with degrees and
postdoctoral experiences from the top tier research universities in the country.
Along with the more senior members in the Department, the potential for this
talented pool of faculty to collectively enhance the national prominence of the
Department and Ohio University is best exemplified by the significant funding,
high-impact publications and extensive presentations that their research has
recently generated. For example, one paper's citation score, an indicator of the
paper quality, exceeded 10,000 and is one of the highest among all of Ohio
In addition to excellent individual faculty research projects, the
Department has several unique on-going multi-investigator research programs
that will continue to enhance its funding and national prominence. These are
the Chemistry & Biochemistry Materials Interface Research Exchange Program
(CBMI) and NanoBioTechnology Initiative (NBTI). The CBMI exchange program
was initiated in the Spring of 2003 with the Fakultät für Chemie and
Mineralogie at the University of Leipzig, Germany and involves a mutual
exchange of faculty and graduate students to foster collaborative research
projects. The international research exchange program is unique amongst Ohio
University’s peer institutions and has already resulted in joint publications and
grants. Another international research exchange program with the University of
Shanghai has recently started and is already a success, further enhancing the
Department’s uniqueness as a global research center. The NBTI consists of
three multi-investigator groups at Ohio University that were targeted for
selective investment by the University Research Priorities identification process.
Two of these groups (BNNT & BMIT) are headed by Department faculty and are
comprised of 60% Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty investigators. The
research foci of these groups fit perfectly with focus areas identified in Vision
The Department’s faculty is internationally renowned and has been
recognized with prestigious awards (NSF) CAREER awards, Marie Curie Award,
GEMI Fund Award, Ohio’s Presidential Research Scholar, Doctor Honoris Causa
and Honorary Fellow of several universities and Professional Organization). The
Department’s research is very well defined, coherent and lies within the area of
Health and Wellness and new biotechnologies, two of the major research topics
emphasized in “Vision Ohio”. The research is focused on the development of
“the state of the art” new bio-technologies and systems applicable in medicine
and especially in the new and rapidly growing field of medicine —
nanomedicine. Major research topics include new biomaterials,
nanobiotechnology, biomedical nanosensors, new drug designs and drug
At Ohio University more than 5,000 students take chemistry courses each
year. The total weighted student credit hours are about 55,000. The number of
undergraduate majors is 350 including 150 forensic chemistry majors. This
makes the undergraduate chemistry program at Ohio University the largest in
the State of Ohio and one of the largest in the country (US average about 100
chemistry undergraduate students per department). Current graduate student
enrollment is not sufficient (about 50) for both teaching and research and has
not changed significantly since the 90s. However, the quality of the PhD
graduates is high as reflected by a number of papers published (an average of 3
per graduate student) and a relatively high percentages (about 10-15%) of OU
graduates are pursuing an academic career. Research productivity during the
past three years is reflected by about 150 publications and external research
funding is about 2.5 million over last three years. The Department is one of the
few major service departments within the university which requires that PhD.
level faculty teach all undergraduate lecture sections. Also, the Department has
a strong undergraduate program and an objective assessment of the progress
of our general chemistry students by the use of national standardized exams
which routinely shows that our students outperform the national norms by 20-
25%. In addition, the enormously popular forensic chemistry program, is unique
in Ohio, and is one of only a handful of such programs nationwide. The
Department also participates in the Honors Tutorial program and has 10
students enrolled with 15 faculty members participating as tutors.
The Department’s extensive research program has only progressed
moderately in the past few years. This is due to the loss of five research
oriented faculty. The Department must hire these replacements in the next two
years to regain proper momentum (of at least 24 faculty members) and
continue to grow with respect to publications, external funding, presentations,
and increased number of graduate students. There are two main factors which
will eventually limit growth: 1) Clippinger Labs have continued to deteriorate; 2)
An insufficient number of graduate students in the PhD program. The average
graduate enrollment in the doctoral granting program nationwide is about 100
and it is recommended four graduate students per faculty member as a critical
mass. For the 24 Group I faculty with a concentration in research, our target
number is about 90-100 graduate students. Thus, we propose a significant
increase in the graduate enrollment during a five year period.
UNDERGRADUATE ACADEMIC GOALS
Establish a common intellectual experience for all first-year students that
lead to a common set of fundamental intellectual skills. These are:
Improved performance in General Chemistry by providing a
foundation course (Chem 150) for students who lack the skills for
success in Chem 151 upon entry to the university. Chem 150 was
initiated in Fall 2005 and students are being monitored throughout
the Chem 151-2-3 sequence. These students are “at risk” upon
Improved performance in all Gen Chemistry courses by providing
the opportunity for Peer-Led-Team-Learning experiences; improving
retention of material through electronic evaluations (preparation
and post-class assessments).
Greater flexibility in course offering (trailer sections for organic,
Providing new courses in specialty topics (nanosciences,
biotechnology, and ligand chemistry) which will better prepare
students for laboratory and research projects.
Opportunities for undergraduate research mentored by faculty
members should increase.
Use of national standardized exams for objective assessment of the
progress of chemistry students.
We will continue to improve our recruitment efforts to maintain the
already high number (about 350) of undergraduate chemistry majors. Our
program is the largest in Ohio and one of the largest in the country. The unique
and highly popular forensic chemistry program will be used to promote our
chemistry program nationally. A group study system to improve learning (Peer-
Led-Team-Learning) will be further developed, promoted and supported.
National exams (American Chemical Society) will be used to assess the learning
performance of our students. New specialty topics will be included in the
courses (nanosensors and biotechnology). This will help undergraduate
students to be involved in research at an early stage of their undergraduate
studies. Students will be encouraged to take rotations in several of the labs
during their second year of studies. We will continue our effort to increase
external support for undergraduate research by submitting for funding from
NSF, NIH and private sector (fellowships from pharmaceutical and medical
In a very competitive market to attract undergraduate majors in
chemistry, we will strive to maintain the current number (350) of undergraduate
majors. Any increase in this program (5-10%) is a success, because there is
significant competition to attract undergraduate students in chemistry. We
expect to improve the quality of education reflected in national exams by at
least 10%. We also plan to increase the number of minority students by at least
10% and see a significant increase in the number of students who remain in the
program (from 85% to about 90%). We also, plan to increase (by 100%) the
number of undergraduate research students to from the current 15 students to
at least 30 students.
GRADUATE ACADEMIC GOALS
Continue to increase the quality and quantity of our MS and PhD
programs in Chemistry and Biochemistry so that the programs will
be above the national average (rise to a national prominence).
Expend monetary and technical support for graduate research and
Recruit the most diverse and best possible students from the State
of Ohio (highest priority), the United States and Internationally.
Double the number of PhD students in our PhD programs to
maintain research quality and quantity.
Improve the Department’s research facilities and environment
which will help promote graduate research, increase the number
and quality of papers published by the students and to increase
Exploit our current research strengths by focusing on graduate
research in Health and Wellness: medical technologies,
nanobiotechnology, medical diagnostic systems and technologies,
and drug development.
The Department will develop new methods to recruit quality students to
our PhD program. Major efforts will be directed to primarily recruit students
from the State of Ohio. Recruitment will be extended to students from the
United States, Europe, possessing top quality Chemistry and Biochemistry
programs. We will continue the close research collaboration that is already
established between Ohio University and the University of Leipzig and Shanghai
University. This will help us recruit top graduate students to Ohio University
from these two institutions. We will continue to seek external support for
graduate students from Federal agencies (NSF/NIH), as well as from
professional organizations (American Heart Association, Society of Diabetes,
and private industries such as pharmaceutical and high-tech medical
companies). Also, we will continue to work with alumni to provide support for
graduate students. We will facilitate collaborative research within our own
Department and with outside collaborations with medically research oriented
institutions in the US (Cleveland Clinic as well as the Mayo Clinic) and abroad
(Germany, Sweden and Switzerland).
The current number of graduate students (45) in the program should
increase to at least 75, but preferably to 90 during the next five years. The
external and internal support for the graduate students should double. About
50 graduate students are recruited for the departmental teaching process. We
aim to increase the number of teaching assistant fellowships by 70%. We also
expect, that about 15-20 students will have external support research
assistants (RAs). This will account for about 150% of the increase from the
current level. Scholarly achievements should also double. We expect that
graduate students will publish at least two papers by graduation and the total
number of papers published yearly by graduate students should double from
the current 20 to 40/ year.
RESEARCH AND ACADEMIC GOALS
Recruit and retain exceptional faculty for creating and sustaining
high quality research.
Continue to focus on research and scholarly activities in the prime
research area of the Department: Health and Wellness — new
medical technologies, nanotechnologies, nanomedicine, new
technologically advanced materials, design of new therapeutics and
drug delivery systems.
Provide adequate support for faculty to develop into nationally and
internationally prominent scholars and researchers.
Continue to support growth in the scholarly activities and increase
research productivity: increase scientific publications, patents and
externally and internally sponsored research.
IMPLEMENTATION AND METRICS
We have to restructure the Department and restore the number of faculty
from the current 19 to 24. We anticipate the hiring of 3 junior and 2 senior
faculties (Roegnik Endowed Chair and Grasselli Endowed Chair). Another critical
component to achieve department-wide national prominence in research will be
increasing the amount of teaching support for the research intensive faculty in
the form of more TAs to assist with grading and recitation sections.
The Department will forge new bonds with industry and medical
institutions; continue to increase research in the area of health and wellness
with major emphasis on nanobiotechnology, nanomedicine, advanced materials
and on the development of new therapeutics. A significant improvement in
research output and external funding is expected. We have set goals of 75
publications and 100 presentations per year which accounts for a one and a
half to more than two- fold increase from the current number of publications
(46) and presentations (49). We are planning to increase significantly the
number of patents and patent disclosures from the current 1/yr to 3/yr. Also,
we plan to increase external funding from the current $.5 M (annual external
research support) to at least $1.2 M (at the current faculty level).
Further improvements in all of these metrics can be achieved when we
hire all five faculty replacements and the physical facilities are improved.
There are three major barriers to the success of our plan: 1) laboratory
space in Clippinger Labs is severely limited and sub-standard and has a
profound impact on the two other barriers; 2) insufficient number of faculty in
the Department (19 research faculty with 5 unfilled positions) and 3)
inadequate support for graduate students involved in teaching (TA- teaching
assistant fellowship). The Department needs about 50 TAs to maintain teaching
excellence for more than 5000 undergraduate students we teach while
achieving our goals for national prominence. The outdated laboratories and
facilities in the Clippinger building make it extremely difficult to attract new
faculty and graduate students to Ohio University. It also makes it extremely
difficult to provide an excellent education for our undergraduate students.