Biochemistry program earns society accreditation

Dr. Kathleen Cornely, professor of chemistry, led her department's efforts in seeking accreditation for the biochemistry program.
Dr. Kathleen Cornely, professor of chemistry, led her department’s efforts in seeking accreditation for the biochemistry program.

The Providence College Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry recently joined an exclusive group of schools to earn accreditation by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

With the accreditation of its biochemistry degree program, the department joins a list of less than 70 programs from across the country to earn ASBMB accreditation. The list of schools includes Boston University, Penn State, Purdue, Villanova, and the University of Virginia.

According to the ASBMB, the goals of its degree accreditation program are to provide:

• a national, outcomes-based mechanism by which students receiving a B.S. or B.A. in biochemistry and molecular biology or closely related majors are given an opportunity to have their degree accredited by the ASBMB;

• a vehicle for recognizing undergraduate biochemistry and molecular biology programs whose features and infrastructure fulfill the basic expectations of the ASBMB; and

• access to an independently constructed and scored instrument for assessing student achievement and program effectiveness.

Biochemistry major Amy Conte '19, left, and Janet Odufunade '19, a biology major, are research students with Dr. Kathleen Cornely, professor of chemistry.
Biochemistry major Amy Conte ’19, left, and Janet Odufunade ’19, a biology major, are research students with Dr. Kathleen Cornely, professor of chemistry.

This is the second special accreditation the chemistry and biochemistry department has earned. Currently, the American Chemical Society accredits the department and its bachelor of science degrees in chemistry and biochemistry.

In its letter informing the department that it had been accredited, the ASBMB lauded PC for its “impressive culture of scholarship among the faculty” and for having “greater than 80 percent participation of students in mentored research.” Gains in student and faculty diversity and the presence of core courses requiring “inquiry-based” learning also were seen as noteworthy.

Dr. Kathleen Cornely, professor of chemistry, took the department lead in seeking ASBMB accreditation. Along with her colleagues, she undertook a lengthy application process that included a department profile (faculty and students), an outline of the College’s curriculum, and examples of research opportunities within the department. While the process was arduous, Cornely believes the benefits of the prestigious accreditation will make the effort worthwhile.

“I think this helps our program stand out. Our students now have the option to obtain certified degrees from either the American Chemical Society or the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, or both,” she said. “We think this will attract highly qualified students interested in biochemistry to Providence College.”

Recent department highlights

The ASBMB accreditation is the latest in a series of accomplishments involving the department and those affiliated with it, including alumni. Among the highlights:

Science Complex undergoing $42 million expansion, renovation

Chemistry professor earns NSF grant

Biochemistry major earns Fulbright

Biochemistry graduate Martucci ’04 earns high marks in business world

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