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Department of Physical Sciences

Welcome to the Department of Physical Sciences

The Department of Physical Sciences consists of faculty in chemistry, geology, and physics. Our alumni include chemists, geologists, environmental scientists, doctors, pharmacists, dentists, medical lab technologists, engineers, business professionals, college professors, and teachers. 

What We Offer

Courses: We offer courses in astronomy, biochemistry, chemistry, geology, oceanography, physics, and physical science.

Research Opportunities
We work with Concord students in several exciting areas of research. Environmental Geoscience students travel for fieldwork with faculty to mountain belts throughout the world, including the Appalachians, the Rocky Mountains, the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest, and the icy shores of Greenland above the Arctic Circle. Chemistry students work on research problems in biomedicine, drug discovery, solar energy, and particle physics. Our recent research grants have brought in more than $1.5 million for student employment, travel to field sites, and new laboratory equipment for student use. 
Laboratory Facilities
We maintain research-grade equipment to stimulate innovative teaching and learning at Concord. Facilities include West Virginia's only electron microprobe – an instrument similar to a scanning electron microscope that magnifies and chemically analyzes tiny areas in minerals and other solid materials. We also maintain an astronomical observatory and additional labs for teaching and research in chemistry, physics, and geology. Students at large universities rarely even see advanced lab equipment, yet at Concord you will get to use it for class as a freshman. 
Why Major in Chemistry or Environmental Geosciences?
Chemists and geoscientists are in strong demand and they pursue engaging careers that change the world. The technical and problem-solving skills learned in these majors are transferrable to a wide variety of careers in the sciences and the world of business, ranging from the development of new energy sources, to environmental protection, to human health and medicine, to invention of consumer products and technology, to business management. Salaries in chemistry and geology are high – the American Geosciences Institute reported that geoscientists had the highest average salary of all pure science fields. 
Where Our Graduates Go

Graduate Programs: Our alumni have gone on to graduate schools for M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry, geology, oceanography, engineering, and environmental science at the University of Maine Climate Change Institute, University of California - Berkeley, University of Illinois, Virginia Tech, University of Wyoming, Ohio State, University of Kentucky, University of Vermont, Wright State University, Indiana University, WVU, and many other institutions.  Nearly all students pursuing graduate degrees in chemistry and geology do so for free - they gain research and teaching fellowships that cover the cost of tuition and pay a modest salary.  

Medical and Pharmacy Schools: Chemistry majors have gone on to obtain doctorates in medicine (M.D., and D.O), pharmacy, and other health-related fields. Some alumni have earned law degrees. 

Careers:  Our geology and chemistry alumni work in West Virginia and throughout the United States at government science agencies, large and small corporations, high schools, universities, hospitals, and scientific consulting firms. Environmental geosciences alumni have been employed by the WV Department of Environmental Protection, American Electric Power, Environmental Resources Management, Northwestern University, Schlumberger, Consol Energy, Chevron, Alpha Natural Resources, NASA, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and many others. Employers of chemistry alumni include the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Golden, CO), Georgia Pacific, U.S. Army Research Lab, Princeton Community Hospital, REIC Labs, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and many local pharmacies and medical offices. 

Department Mission
The Department of Physical Sciences challenges students to become interdisciplinary, ethically responsible professionals and scientists. Our degree programs and courses engage students with fundamental scientific content with the aim to transform them into leaders in their discipline and equip them to succeed in future careers and post-graduate studies. Our faculty foster a dynamic learning environment that broadens students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes through active-learning curricula.
Student Learning Outcomes
Student learning outcomes in chemistry and environmental geosciences are defined by our Educational Goals and Objectives. The Educational Goals and Objectives of the chemistry and environmental geosciences programs are aligned with each other and with the CU Educational Goals. Our programs are designed to evaluate student skill development (proficiency in interpreting data, integrating information, formulating ideas, thinking critically, and communicating with others), scientific knowledge (familiarity with principles underlying academic discourse in the sciences), and attitudes (tendencies conducive to self-knowledge, personal growth and development, and responsible citizenship as a professional). 
Educational Goals and Objectives: Environmental Geosciences Program

Students in the geoscience program will be challenged to gain content knowledge and problem-solving skills across the major subfields of the geological sciences, including career-focused environmental and applied aspects of the geosciences. Students will also gain diverse communication skills, and demonstrate attitudes conducive to working in an ethical, safe, responsible, and professional manner.

1. Knowledge and Problem-solving Skills in the Geological Sciences
Goal – Synthesize and integrate knowledge and experiences to solve problems in the geological sciences
1.1 Objective - Students will be able to apply fundamental principles underlying the major subfields of geology
1.2 Objective – Students will develop analytical and quantitative skills in order to design laboratory and field studies to answer questions
 
2. Communication Skills
Goal - Be able to communicate complex scientific concepts for a variety of audiences
2.1 Objective – Students will prepare reports and presentations using relevant technology for a scientific audience
2.2 Objective – Students will design outreach activities that serve and benefit the public
 
3. Safety and Professionalism: Attitudinal Development
Goal - Conduct scientific work and report results in an ethical, safe, responsible, and professional manner
3.1 Objective – Students will recognize unethical and unsafe research/experimental practices and data and plan an appropriate response
3.2 Objective – Students will work effectively and ethically in groups
Educational Goals and Objectives: Chemistry Program

Students in the chemistry program will be challenged to gain content knowledge and problem-solving skills across the five major subdivisions of the chemical sciences. They will also gain diverse communication skills, and demonstrate attitudes conducive to working in an ethical, safe, responsible, and professional manner. 

1. Knowledge and Problem-Solving Skills in the Chemical Sciences
Goal – Synthesize and integrate knowledge and experiences to solve problems in the chemical sciences
1.1 Objective - Students will be able to apply fundamental principles underlying the five major subdivisions of chemistry
1.2 Objective – Students will develop analytical and quantitative reasoning skills in order to design experiments to answer questions
 
2. Communication Skills
Goal - Be able to communicate complex scientific concepts for a variety of audiences
2.1 Objective – Students will prepare reports and presentations using relevant technology for a scientific audience
2.2 Objective – Students will design outreach activities that serve and benefit the public
 
3. Safety and Professionalism: Attitudinal Development 
Goal - Conduct scientific work and report results in an ethical, safe, responsible, and professional manner
3.1 Objective – Students will recognize unethical and unsafe research/experimental practices and data and plan an appropriate response
3.2 Objective – Students will work effectively and ethically in groups
Faculty

Alice Hawthorne-Allen

Professor of Physics and Interim College Dean
304-384-6273
amhallen@concord.edu


Joseph Allen

Professor of Geology/Chair
304-384-5238
allenj@concord.edu


Stephen Kuehn

Associate Professor of Geology/Director CU Electron Microprobe Laboratory
304-384-6322
sckuehn@concord.edu


Darrell Crick

Associate Professor of Chemistry
304-384-5169
dcrick@concord.edu


Kim Chambers

Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
304-384-6281
kchambers@concord.edu



Marwa Abdel Latif

Assistant Professor of Chemistry
304-384-5297
mabdellatif@concord.edu



Hong Yin

Assistant Professor of Chemistry
304-384-5315
hyin@concord.edu



Aaron Paget

Assistant Professor of Physics
304-384-6006
apaget@concord.edu



Alec Wagner

Assistant Professor of Chemistry
304-384-5988
atwagner@concord.edu



Jennifer Phillippe

Instructor of Geology
304-384-5157
jphillippe@concord.edu


Joe Allen, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of Physical Sciences
Contact: Email


Programs of Study

Undergraduate

Course Descriptions