The JMU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is committed to excellence in undergraduate education, to active students' participation in research and to counseling students to help them reach their professional goals. The department is large enough to offer modern laboratories, advanced Instrumentation and computer facilities, and the opportunity of take courses from faculty members with graduate training and research interests in all major areas of chemistry. At the same time, it is small enough for students to gain hands-on experience with research-grade equipment and to pursue an individualized program of study.

The department offers bachelors degree programs  that are certified by the American Chemical Society in chemistry, biochemistry, materials science and chemical education in addition to biophysical chemistry and a chemistry/business degree.  

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is composed of 25 full-time teaching faculty, representing all of the major subdisciplines of chemistry.

Mission

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry seeks to remain a premier undergraduate department that is nationally recognized for preparing chemistry majors for graduate and professional schools and careers by engaging them in inquiry-based and discovery research and learning beginning in their first semester at JMU. Further, the department plays a fundamental role in the education and development of students who major in other scientific disciplines, and exposing students from other majors to the importance and relevance of science as a way of knowing.  We are committed to excellence in teaching and research to ensure our students lead productive and meaningful lives.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at James Madison University will prepare the next generation of scientists, K12 teachers, future health professionals, and informed citizens to:

  • Have broad-based problem-solving and communication skills that foster successful career transitions as the scientific community responds to global changes.
  • Understand the traditional disciplines of chemistry and its interfaces with other related scientific disciplines, such as biological, environmental, and materials science.
  • Enter the workforce directly, or continue their education at graduate or professional schools across the nation.

Diversity and Inclusion

The Chemistry and Biochemistry Department is committed to an inclusive environment that celebrates the diversity of its community. We view our opportunity to teach, serve, and interact with many, varied individuals to be a privilege. We will strive to reach, support, and show respect to every person and we expect our community will do the same.

We affirm that the lives and experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color matter, and that we as a community, and as individuals, have a moral obligation to acknowledge, condemn and change hurtful behaviors and structures.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry created a committee for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-racism, and Social justice (IDEAS)  for Action in the Fall of 2020. A highly motivated, self-selected group gathers to find ways to change the culture of our department. This group developed in the summer of 2020 amidst the national social unrest that reached a boiling point over systemic racism that plagues our nation (and university). Over the summer, a group of faculty members started the process of self-education by reading the book, "Me and White Supremacy" by Layla F. Saad, which requires reflective journaling and discussion. These book club meetings led to intense discussions about how we can better support our students as a department, and the conversations didn't end when we finished the book. 

Naturally from our conversations, we wrote >30 action items that we will address in our department. These range from enhancing transparency of our departmental actions to evaluating hiring practices to embedding conversations about inclusivity in select courses for our majors throughout their time at JMU, to name a few. Many items stem directly from suggestions from our students, which came out during Gray Report Inclusivity conversations with our Student-Led Inclusivity Task Force. The full list of action items, as well as their status (not started, initiated, running) can be found in this living document.

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