Session S3c (Monday, 2pm, Paterno 104)

P236: Relevance of the Morrill Act in current challenges to undergraduate and graduate chemistry programs

Joseph Francisco (Purdue University, USA)

The makeup of the student population has changed. International students over the years have steadily increased in graduate programs, but the numbers are beginning to show an increased presence in undergraduate programs. Most of the growth in enrollment in science graduate programs has resulted from the enrollment of international students. Domestic undergraduate students make up about a quarter of the students enrolled in graduate schools, and the increases are from women and underrepresented minority groups. About half of the students enrolled in doctoral programs in chemistry drop out before graduation. The challenge is in retaining those students. While universities have focused on preparing the next generation of researchers, the harsh reality is that these students are challenged in finding employment. A fundamental question that needs to be addressed is whether current academic preparation in chemistry addresses a national need. Accelerated technological, environmental, societal and financial drivers continue to push the chemical enterprise worldwide, and chemists working in it, to increasingly think and collaborate globally.  These drivers are beginning to impact academia. This presentation will examine whether the intent and spirit of the Morrill Act still has relevance in the current climate of  current challenges to the chemical enterprise and chemical education.

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