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From the College of Natural Sciences
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What is in a degree?

What is in a degree?

Dear Students,

There was a time when a large fraction of all of the chemistry research in the world took place in Germany or Russia.  As a consequence, when I earned my B.S. in Chemistry, the degree required I take a year of either German or Russian.  This was considered essential, as chemists needed to be able to read the chemistry literature published in these languages in order to understand the foremost research in the field.  I took a year of German.

It never helped me as a chemist.  The requirement still annoys me.  It is not that I have anything against foreign languages (I once was fairly fluent in French).  I had in fact happily taken a years worth of French (in residence) to fulfill the foreign language requirement of my degree.  What annoyed me was that the Chemistry department had retained an out of date additional language requirement.  While it has been some time since I was an undergraduate, English has been the dominant language of scientific publication for more than half a century (for which I am extremely grateful).  Degree requirements should change with changing times.

That brings us to today.  This year, departments in the college will be examining their B.S. degrees.  Some have been recently updated; others have been the same for years.  We will be working to see how to make all of our degrees better for the students in the college.  To this end, it is important to get student input into this process.  This is your chance to tell us about what you think is important. 

CNS Town Hall on B.S. Degrees
Tuesday, November 11th, 5-6pm
W.C. Hogg 1.210

What would you like to see change?  What do you think is essential?  Come out on Tuesday and join the discussion.  We would love to hear from you.


- Dr. Vanden Bout


P.S. Download: CNS Student Newsletter

P.P.S.   Q: How many Heisenbergs does it take to change a light bulb?

A: If you know the number, you don't know where the light bulb is.

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Friday, 27 January 2023

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