The Faculty of the Chemistry Department unanimously agree that the current P&R process lacks sufficient justification, is based upon faulty or incomplete data, promotes a highly personal administrative agenda, and summarily disregards the university community's duty of shared governance
The P&R Committee (PRC) noted that there are no strengths in the QUALITY of the Chemistry Graduate Program (CGP).
We disagree: The CGP has undergone major revision in the past two years. We raised our admissions standards, developed a better protocol for student-advisor selection, and have a working assessment plan for the program. In January 2008, we plan to allocate over $2,000 in resources to actively recruit students from other universities within and outside of California. We also require that all faculty attending conferences spend time recruiting in order to receive matching travel funds.
Over 25% of our faculty are new hires (< 2 years) and were not present when the original P&R data was submitted. Recent hires have interdisciplinary research expertise needed to expand the CGP. Not only is the CGP critical in attracting active researchers to CPP, but the presence of a graduate program is essential for securing external funding. The sustainability of this program is critical to retaining the majority of our faculty, as well as the faculty of other departments that do not have graduate programs that use the CGP for expanding their research/scholarly activities. The CGP attracts students from multiple departments and colleges on campus and is a truly interdisciplinary research program at CPP. It is the only program with expertise in computational, biological, life, polymer, and environmental/electro-optical materials sciences.
The PRC noted that there are no strengths in the EFFICIENCY of the CGP.
We disagree: Our teaching-mandated TA program provides students with teaching experience and a broader knowledge of chemistry. Importantly, it provided a savings of over $235,000 to the College of Science by having TAs teach labs rather than more costly lecturers. We envision growing our program by over 10% while utilizing more TAs in our teaching pool.
Chemistry has numerous service courses that are impacted every quarter. Thus, chemistry requires a minimum of 25 faculty to meet its targeted demand. ALL chemistry faculty contribute to the service courses; however, not all participate in the CPG. This has given the false appearance that the graduate student to faculty ratio is lower than other departments.
The CGP has enabled us to obtain external funds from numerous prestigious agencies such as W.M. Keck, NSF, NIH, and Research Corporation. Without a graduate program in place, our proposals for external funding are not competitive with comparable institutions. Thus, removal of the CGP will significantly reduce funds for the department as well as ICR funds for the College of Science and the University.
The PRC states the CGP had no fully developed outcomes assessment plan.
We have our new outcomes assessment plan available in the Department Office.
The PRC states that the program declined in enrollment between 2000 and 2005.
Table 1 shows that the incoming GPA of our graduate students for the last three years is in line with that of CPP. This data refutes the trend presented in the P&R recommendation and is a direct result of new enrollment policies.
Table 1. CGP 3 Year Enrollment Data
2005 2006 2007
Enrollment 25 22 24
Average GPA 3.57 3.56 3.54
Number of students below 3.0 2 1 0
The PRC states that the program faculty is less diverse than the student population.
In 2007, we hired three new faculty, of which one third are underrepresented minorities. Thus, we have increased the overall diversity in the department faculty.
The PRC states that the percentage of students with a GPA below 3.0 has been very high.
Over the last three years, this is not valid. We have consistently had less than 10% of students with a GPA below 3.0 (Table 1). Furthermore, the number of these students has been decreasing from 2 in 2005, to 1 in 2006 and 0 in 2007. From summer 2006 through spring 2007, our average incoming GPA is 3.16, in line with CPP average of 3.17.
The PRC states that the cost of the program per FTES is higher than other campus programs.
Chemistry is an experimental science and requires expensive equipment and chemicals. Moreover, the safe handling of hazardous materials is costly and federally mandated. Thus, a chemistry program will naturally cost more per FTES than programs outside the physical sciences. However, chemistry graduate students often link the university to the chemical industry, resulting in collaborations with and donations from local companies.
The PRC recommends that we consider merging CGP with the Chemical Engineering Graduate Program.
There is no Chemical Engineering Graduate Program at Cal Poly Pomona. As we have demonstrated above, the CGP stands by itself and adds value and prestige to CPP.