Chemistry Curriculum Revamp to Streamline, Diversify Courseload

A replica of Butan-2-ol stands In Albion’s Science Atrium. This compound’ structure and properties are usually taught during the first semester of organic chemistry. (Photo by Irene Corona.)

A new chemistry curriculum will be implemented in the fall semester of 2019. It will mark the first change in Albion’s chemistry program since 1983. 

Currently, chemistry majors must complete Chemistry 121 (Structure and Equilibrium) before moving onto advanced courses. Chemistry students are also required to take another introductory course, Chemistry 123 (Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry), but they are able to bypass this course and take 200 and 300-level courses beforehand, like Chemistry 211 (Organic Chemistry).

With the change, there will no longer be Chemistry 121, 123 or 211. Instead, the chemistry curriculum will replace those courses with Chemistry 152 and 154. The move is meant to better streamline the sequence of required classes while freeing up schedules for students to pursue interdisciplinary courses.

According to chemistry department chair Kevin Metz, this current curriculum poses a problem.

“Between now and 1983, the content in the classes has changed,” said Metz. “Chemistry 123 has some topics that are truly introductory topics, so students are missing these introductory topics before they get to [courses like] 211, where they assume you have, and that’s a problem.”

Most students don’t complete Chemistry 123 until their third year. The students don’t realize the usefulness of the introductory topics in the course, said Metz.

“It makes a big change in that we are purposefully structuring the content in the right sequence so that the things you need to know, [you’ll] see before, rather than circle back around at some point and deal with introductory topics,” said Metz

The revised sequence of the chemistry curriculum begins with Chemistry 152, which includes relevant topics to introduce chemistry.  They will then advance to Chemistry 154, which is a combination of the general inorganic and organic chemistry taught in 123 and 211.

After 154, students can choose to enroll in 200-level chemistry courses. A new course offering, 214, will add an in-depth inorganic chemistry course.

Metz said the new flow of courses will allow students to change their majors easier. Students deciding between a biochemistry and chemistry major will have particular ease to decide before they are required to do so their second semester of their sophomore year.

Non-chemistry students can complete a chemistry course with more interdisciplinary topics. Incoming students will enroll in Chemistry 152 unless their AP Chemistry score allows them to be placed in a higher course.

Students currently enrolled in chem 121 will take chem 154 next rather than taking Chemistry 123 or 211.

The new sequence will reduce the amount of courses required to complete the pre-medical program, currently standing at 16 to 18 units, and a chemistry major, standing at eight to 10.

It also falls in line with the interdisciplinary focus the new Wilson Institute for Medicine is seeking to emphasize, as Bradley Rabquer, director of the Wilson Institute, explained.

“It fits in line with our desire to streamline this process and make it easier for students to navigate through the chemistry curriculum to get what they need to do well in the MCAT and get ready for medical school,” said Rabquer.


About Irene Corona-Avila 48 Articles
Irene is a fourth-year student and a prideful Georgia Peach from Atlanta. She is a biochemistry major with a minor in . Aside from running and writing, you can find Irene dancing freely or talking up a pun. She's currently reading a book on gravity, but she can't seem to put it down.

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