About

This website was created by a group of faculty who are interested in advancing new models for graduate education in the chemical sciences. This grassroots effort builds upon a study that was published by the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 2012. It is our intention that this website will facilitate the broadcasting and amplification of best practices that concern the training of graduate students in the chemical sciences.

 

Disclaimer

Unless otherwise noted, the information on this website may not represent official statements or views of ACS or the members of the commission that participated in the ACS study.

 

 

History

Scientific research in the chemical sciences remains in most respects healthy and vibrant. Yet pedagogy, especially at the graduate level, has remained largely unchanged since the current system was developed in the 1950’s, when the chemical educational model assumed that most graduating Ph.D. students would join the university enterprise or conduct industry research to address foundational questions in the basic science of chemistry. Several attempts have been undertaken in recent years to examine the “apprentice” graduate education model in the chemical sciences. In 2001, the Carnegie Foundation undertook the first significant examination of graduate education in the sciences, the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate (CID). The five-year CID undertaking was intended to be an action and research project to encourage and support departments’ efforts to improve the quality of their doctoral programs by designing and implementing new initiatives into practice. Chemistry was one of five fields that were the focus of the study. Several monographs that summarize the findings were written after the CID ended in 2006. The Graduate Education Advisory Board of the American Chemical Society (ACS) recommended that the ACS sustain the doctoral reform initiative, but no concrete action was immediately taken. In 2011, then ACS President-Elect Bassam Shakhashiri charged a commission led by Dr. Larry Faulkner (past President of the University of Texas at Austin) to consider fundamental, comprehensive, and systemic changes in the way we train graduate students in the chemical sciences. The ACS Presidential Commission, comprised 22 leaders from the Society, academia, industry, and government, published its findings in 2012: “Advancing Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences.”