Mission Statement

The mission of the Chemistry Department at St. Olaf College is to create and maintain an environment for both students and faculty to advance their understanding of chemistry guided by the highest standards of scientific inquiry and the Christian liberal arts tradition of the College, with the success and growth of students as knowledgeable and responsible citizens of the world as its highest priority.

The St. Olaf Chemistry Department strives to foster a community of active learners, acknowledge the different goals and backgrounds of students, and emphasize chemistry as fundamental to a wide variety of disciplines.

We strive to foster a community of active learners by:

  • Promoting inquiry-based, hands-on learning experiences in all areas of the curriculum that includes the partnership of student and faculty in research and other scholarly work
  • Maintaining a collection of state-of-the-art instruments for student and faculty use
  • Keeping current with cutting-edge advances in the chemistry field
  • Employing effective methods of teaching, including the use of primary literature and experimental design where appropriate to meet contemporary standards of excellence in teaching
  • Supporting the development of faculty teaching innovations and research interests
  • Teaching chemistry within the liberal arts tradition by promoting discourse, creative thought, and problem solving
  • Learning about and practicing the safe and responsible use of chemicals.

We strive to acknowledge the different goals and backgrounds of students by:

  • Supporting students who are chemistry majors, students who require chemistry for other science majors, students interested in health-related careers, and non-science majors
  • Offering interrelated courses in a variety of sub-disciplines that promote flexibility in degree planning and access to a wide variety of learning opportunities
  • Preparing students for employment as scientists in myriad employment fields
  • Promoting technological fluency
  • Preparing students for graduate and professional programs
  • Encouraging service to the world community at any level.

We strive to emphasize chemistry as fundamental to a wide variety of disciplines by:

  • Maintaining a strong disciplinary identity, in part by maintaining accreditation with the American Chemical Society
  • Committing to the international and collaborative nature of science to meet global scientific awareness
  • Employing green chemistry in our teaching curriculum and research endeavors to emphasize environmental sustainability to the global community
  • Establishing collaboration between chemistry and all academic disciplines, not just the sciences
  • Designing interdisciplinary opportunities for our students and faculty
  • Encouraging chemistry outreach to the local community.