GGC to begin offering chemistry major

Two students working in chemistry class

 

Following today’s approval by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, Georgia Gwinnett College will offer a bachelor of science degree in chemistry. The program will begin accepting students in the fall 2014 semester. Prospective students wishing to take advantage of the new program’s availability this fall may apply to GGC through June 2.
 
This news comes as the School of Science and Technology (SST) prepares to occupy new laboratory and classroom space in the college’s Allied Health and Sciences building, which will open this summer in time for fall semester classes. The new building also positions the college to accommodate the tremendous interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines. About 30 percent of GGC’s students major in STEM majors. While GGC continues to experience dramatic overall enrollment growth, enrollment in STEM programs is increasing at an even faster rate.
 
“We are excited to add this new degree program, as it will provide more options for our students,” said Lois C. Richardson, senior vice president of Academic and Student Affairs and provost. “GGC’s degrees have all been selected to target the employment needs and opportunities of our region, and chemistry fits very well within that strategy.”
 
As with other degree programs at GGC, the chemistry program was designed with community collaboration. SST consulted with local chemical companies that indicated a need for graduates with good communications skills and a strong background in statistics and laboratory methodologies.
 
“Student engagement will be a hallmark of this program, where class sizes are limited to 24 students,” said Thomas Mundie, dean of SST. “In addition, it will include high-impact practices such as undergraduate research where students are involved in course-embedded research throughout their four-year program.”
The availability of undergraduate research experience to students of all levels is unusual in higher education.  This enables highly-motivated students to enhance their educational experience by developing additional 
 
skills, collaborating with faculty, and pursuing opportunities to submit research projects for conference presentations and publication in professional journals. Multi-year availability also enables students to spend more time on research projects that meet their interests, or require extended work. 
 
“While GGC is not a research university, research is still integral to higher education within the STEM disciplines, and can offer students an advantage when pursuing employment, or introduce them to more career options,” Mundie said. “Undergraduate research experience also can help students determine their interest in pursuing advanced degrees.”
 
The chemistry program will include a general track for students planning to work in industry, a professional track for those interested in graduate or professional school, and a teacher certification track for those wishing to teach chemistry and physical sciences in middle or high school. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has noted a critical, state-wide shortage of teachers in the STEM fields.
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