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Skidmore College
Chemistry Department

Tenure Stream Search in Organic Chemistry

Welcome to the homepage for our open rank tenure stream search for a new colleague who can teach organic chemistry, to begin in Fall 2020. We highly encourage and invite applications from individuals from a wide range of experience levels and backgrounds to apply. To help support you in applying, please find below answers to frequently asked questions about the position, working at Skidmore, the search process, and collaborative research at Skidmore. In addition, we have overviews of Skidmore College, the Department, our facilities and instrumentation, and Saratoga Springs and the greater Capital District (the Albany, NY Metro Area) as well as links to additional resources related to visiting and living in the area.  More details regarding the Department and College can be found on their homepages.

Here is the job ad (pdf, one page)

Here is the information from the  FAQs and overviews below as one packet (pdf, 23 pages)

To apply: http://careers.skidmore.edu/postings/3374  Review of applications begins September 16, 2019.

If you have additional questions, please contact the chair of the Department, Associate Professor Kelly Sheppard via e-mail (ksheppar@skidmore.edu).

 


 

FAQ – Position, Working at Skidmore, and Search

 

FAQ – Collaborative Research with Undergraduates

 

Overviews of the College, the Department, and the Area

 


 

FAQ for the Position, Working at Skidmore, and the Search

Why are you conducting a tenure stream faculty search?

Due to phased retirements coupled to high demand for chemistry courses and collaborative research experiences, the Chemistry Department at Skidmore College is searching for a tenure stream faculty member at any rank who can teach in our organic chemistry sequence and other courses in our curriculum, develop a vibrant research program with undergraduate collaborators, mentor and advise students, and participate in departmental and college service.

 

What are you looking for in a successful candidate?

A Ph.D. in organic chemistry (A Ph.D. in chemistry with an emphasis in organic chemistry) or a related field, such as chemical biology, medicinal chemistry, organometallic chemistry, and polymer chemistry, is required. We are searching for a colleague, at any rank, who can i) successfully teach in a supportive and an inclusive manner Organic Chemistry I and Organic Chemistry II as well as advanced electives, courses at the 100-level as needed, and on occasion a Scribner Seminar; ii) develop a vibrant and productive research program that actively engages undergraduates in a welcoming and supportive manner; iii) mentor and advise students from diverse backgrounds, experiences, abilities, and interests; iv) participate in departmental and College-wide service. Enthusiasm for teaching, mentoring, and advising a diverse student population is essential. We encourage applications from individuals with identities historically minoritized in the sciences and who have experience working with diverse student populations. Successful applicants should highlight any experiences and expertise related to supporting a diverse and inclusive educational community throughout their application materials.

 

The required materials are as follows:

  • Cover letter –The letter should concisely summarize your qualifications for the advertised position, which will be expanded upon in your C.V. and statements (teaching and research); why you are interested in the position; briefly overview your teaching and research interests especially in an undergraduate liberal arts setting; and how you will effectively engage with a diverse student body as a teacher, advisor, and mentor.
  • Curriculum Vitae –The C.V. should highlight all of your qualifications for the position. In addition to your degrees earned, positions held and employment history, teaching and research experiences, publications (denote undergraduate student co-authors, if any), presentations (denote undergraduate student co-authors, if any), awards, and funding, please do include any other experiences, backgrounds, and expertiseyou find relevant for the advertised position especially if they relate to supporting a diverse and inclusive educational community. These could include:
    • expertise in diversity and inclusion
    • service to your department, college, field, and or community
    • professional development (trainings, workshops, classes, and or conferences attended related to diversity and inclusion, teaching, mentoring and advising, scientific outreach and communication, science policy, writing grant proposals, managing a group, etc.)
    • experiences and expertise mentoring and advising students
    • leadership roles
    • science policy experiences and expertise
    • experiences and expertise in scientific outreach and communication
  • Statement of Research Plans – The research statement should clearly and concisely articulate the research program you plan to run at Skidmore and, in particular, the research project(s) you plan to undertake with undergraduates. Please do keep in mind, your audience (the search committee) won’t be experts in your particular subfield. Keep discussions of your previous work concise and focused on highlighting your qualifications and why you will be successful in the research program you are proposing. Be sure to describe the role of undergraduates in your research project(s), how you plan to recruit and facilitate a diverse and inclusive research group of undergraduates, potential journals to publish the work in and conferences to present at, potential external sources of funding, and a list of major equipment needs.
  • Statement of Teaching Philosophy – The statement should clearly and concisely convey your teaching values, beliefs, and goals based on your experiences and training. Informed by relevant literature, experiences, and training, you should also articulate the methods you will use in your courses to achieve your goals for student learning, how you will assess student learning, and plan to continue to develop as a teacher. In the process, given our diverse student body, articulate how you plan to teach in an inclusive manner both in the classroom and in the laboratory. As the statement is informed by your experiences and training as well as relevant literature, it should be self-reflective as you demonstrate how purposeful you are about your teaching. Please also denote the courses you are interested in teaching including electives you want to develop.
  • Copies of undergraduate and graduate transcripts scanned into one PDF.
  • Names, affiliations, and contact information of three professional references References will be contacted at a later stage in the search process. They should be able to speak, with evidence, to your qualifications to teach in our curriculum in an inclusive manner, productively run a research program involving undergraduate students, mentor and advise a diverse student body, and engage in service.

 

What do you mean by any rank/open rank search? What if I was tenured previously?

The any rank/open rank search means we can hire a new tenure stream colleague at any level of experience. We do not have a preference for hiring at any particular level. We welcome and encourage applications from individuals at all levels of experience. For those who are in an untenured position (e.g., graduate student finishing their Ph.D., post-doctoral fellow or associate, visiting assistant professor, lecturer, instructor, or untenured assistant professor), we can hire at the Assistant Professor level. For those who are currently tenured faculty members at another institution, we can hire at your current rank (e.g., Associate Professor or Full Professor).

The typical tenure process, for tenure stream faculty hired at the Assistant Professor level, lasts six years, with a third-year review.  Specifically, your first year is a probationary year as part of a three-year contract.  The chair will write annual review letters each year until you are tenured.  At the end of the fall of your third year, you are evaluated by the Department and the Dean of Faculty’s Office for reappointment for another three-year contract. At the start of your sixth year, you submit your tenure binder for tenure review by the Department, external reviewers, the Appointments and Tenure Committee, and the Dean’s Office. Most candidates (~90%) are successful at tenure review. If not, you can appeal. If you are not reappointed or not tenured, you are given a terminal one-year contract.

For those previously tenured, the Skidmore College Faculty Handbook(Part I, VIII.E.3.d, page 125) does provide the possibility to hire with tenure “[w]hen institutional needs or priorities require it”. The Dean of Faculty/Vice-President for Academic Affairs and the Department Chair must present the case to the Appointments and Tenure Committee (ATC) for hiring with tenure prior to an offer being made. ATC deliberates the case to the qualifications stipulated in the Faculty Handbook.  If you are not tenured at hire but were tenured at your previous institution, you may have an accelerated tenure clock (2-3 years instead of the typical 6 years). 

 

What will I teach? What is the teaching load? How are contact hours defined?

What courses?

You will be primarily teaching in our organic chemistry sequence (CH 221 Organic Chemistry I and CH 222 Organic Chemistry II), lecture and lab, for your teaching load of 18 contact hours per academic year (please see below for more details). In addition, you may also on occasion teach in our one semester general chemistry course, CH 125 Principles of Chemistry, lecture or lab, or our preparatory chemistry course, CH 115 Fundamentals of Chemistry, lecture or lab, depending on need. About every 2-3 years, you will teach an advanced elective (300-level) in your area of specialty. This could be Advanced Organic Chemistry, or a special topic/new course you develop. About every 5-7 years, you will also be asked to teach a Scribner Seminar for the First Year Experience (please see link to FYE: Scribner Seminar for more details). Once in a while, you may also teach our senior seminar (CH 377 in the Fall and CH 378 in the Spring). You may elect to supervise the Peer-Led Team Learning mentors in a given semester, which earns you 1 contact hour per semester supervised. Please see Department Courses for course descriptions.

What is the teaching load and how are contact hours defined?

Skidmore is on the semester system, i.e.there are two semesters per academic year. Faculty members teach 18 contact hours per academic year (average 9 contact hours per semester). Typically, this means each semester you will teach 2 or 3 courses depending on the combination of classes taught each year. Contact hours are defined by how many scheduled hours per week you meet with students for a class. For example, CH 221 Organic Chemistry I lecture meets three times a week for an hour each class session for 3 hours total per week. So each section of CH 221 lecture taught counts as 3 contact hours towards your teaching responsibility. The lab for CH 221 meets for 4 hours each week so each section of lab taught counts as 4 contact hours towards your teaching responsibility. Tenure stream faculty in their first year at Skidmore typically reduce their first year teaching responsibility by earning a course release of 3-4 contact hours. If you teach over 18 contact hours in a given year, you can have a reduced teaching responsibility in the following year. For example, if you teach 19 contact hours one year, the next you could teach 17 contact hours. Overload pay is also possible in lieu of averaging with the next year.

For the advertised position, you will be mostly teaching in the organic chemistry sequence (CH 221-222). The contact hours for those courses are as follows:

CH 221            Organic Chemistry I lecture                3 contact hours
CH 221L           Organic Chemistry I lab                      4 contact hours
CH 222            Organic Chemistry II lecture               3 contact hours
CH 222L           Organic Chemistry II lab                     4 contact hours

In addition, you may also teach in the 100-level sequence and every 5-7 years in the College’s First Year Experience: Scribner Seminar program along with advanced (300-level) electives every 2-4 years.

CH 115            Fundamentals of Chemistry lecture   3 contact hours
CH 115L           Fundamentals of Chemistry lab          3 contact hours
CH 125/6         Principles of Chemistry lecture          4 contact hours
CH 125/6L       Principles of Chemistry lab                 3 contact hours
SSP 100           Scribner Seminar                                4 contact hours
CH 323            Advanced Organic Chemistry             3 contact hours
CH 351            Special Topics in Chemistry                1-4 contact hours
May decide to develop new course                           1-4 contact hours
Special topics/new courses vary depending on how the course is designed and scheduled.

Occasionally, you may also teach Senior Seminar in Chemistry and Biochemistry (CH 377 Fall or CH 378 Spring). In addition, you may choose to supervise peer-led team-learning (PLTL) for an organic chemistry course.

CH 377            Senior Seminar in Chemistry and Biochemistry         1 contact hour
CH 378            Senior Seminar in Chemistry and Biochemistry         1 contact hour
HF 200             PLTL for Organic Chemistry I                                      1 contact hour
HF 200             PLTL for Organic Chemistry II                                     1 contact hour 

How many students take Organic Chemistry?  How many sections are taught? What are the class sizes? 

CH 221 Organic Chemistry I and CH 222 Organic Chemistry II are offered every semester during the academic year (Fall and Spring) . We have a one semester general chemistry course (CH 125 Principles of Chemistry), so students can start organic chemistry as early as spring of their first year. We also offer a preparatory course (CH 115 Fundamentals of Chemistry).  Offering CH 221 and CH 222 both semesters means students starting in either course can continue in chemistry without interruption. It also provides flexibility for students.

Over the last six semesters enrollments in CH 221 Organic Chemistry I have been S’17-48 students, F’17-31 students, S'18-27 students, F’18-31 students, S’19-27 students, and F’19-20 students.

Over the last six semesters enrollments in CH 222 Organic Chemistry II have been  S’17-24 students, F’17-30 students, S’18-17 students, F’18-26 students , S’19-25 students, and F’19-27 students.

How many sections of Organic Chemistry are taught?


For CH 221 Organic Chemistry I, in the Spring we typically offer two lecture sections. The cap is 26 students for each lecture. We typically offer 3 lab sections and can expand to 4 if needed. For the fall we typically offer only one lecture section of CH 221 Organic Chemistry I with a cap of 32 students and two lab sections.  The average number of students per CH 221 Organic Chemistry I lecture section is 18.4.

For CH 222 Organic Chemistry II, we typically offer only one lecture section each semester which is capped at 28 students. The average lecture section for CH 222 Organic Chemistry II is 24.8 students.


What is the maximum capacity of an Organic Chemistry lab section?

The CH 221L Organic Chemistry I lab sections are capped at 16 students.  CH 222L Organic Chemistry II Lab we typically cap at 14 given the project nature of the labs and the instrumentation needs. We can go up to 16 students if need be.

Can Skidmore students take the lecture without the lab, and vice versa?

Students must enroll in both the lecture and lab.

How many lab sections are run in any given semester?

For CH 221 Organic Chemistry I Lab, in the Fall we offer 2 lab sections and in the Spring 3 lab sections. For CH 222 Organic Chemistry II Lab, we offer 2 lab sections each semester.

If I were hired at Skidmore, could I arrange for interviewing students for PLTL assistants and/or peer tutors to be available in my first semester of teaching?

We do run a Peer Led Team Learning (PLTL) program with peer mentors. The faculty overseeing PLTL for a particular class selects the peer mentors. Peer Academic Coaches (https://www.skidmore.edu/academic_services/pac/subject/chemistry.php) are run out of Student Academic Services but faculty teaching the courses are consulted. In addition, we have student assistants in the organic labs who assist the lab instructors.

What is the First Year Experience (FYE): Scribner Seminar?

All first-year students at Skidmore College must take a Scribner Seminar their first semester which is the centerpiece of the FYE program at the College. The FYE is mainly designed to provide students a solid foundation for college, stimulate intellectual curiosity and challenge perceived notions - all aimed at cultivating each student as a whole person though a liberal arts education. The faculty member teaching a Scribner Seminar serves not only as the instructor for the course but also as the mentor and academic advisor for the students enrolled in their seminar (capped at 16 students) until the students declare a major. Students must declare by the spring of their second year at the College. The FYE also includes orientation and a summer reading with follow-up discussions, speakers, and other activities throughout the academic year related to the reading. Co-curricular activities are also planned through the FYE program. The Scribner Seminars also have a peer mentor who serves as a role model and informal advisor to the first-year students in the seminar. The faculty member selects the peer mentor and the peer mentor receives training to help them successfully support first year students.

The Scribner Seminars themselves are interdisciplinary courses only for first-year students centered around distinguishing the types of questions asked by different disciplines, critically reading and interpreting evidence, distinguishing the evidence and methodologies of different disciplines, considering complexities and ambiguities, making connections, recognizing choices and examining assumptions, formulating conclusions based on evidence, developing communication skills, and relating the course to their educational goals. In that framework, faculty members design their own seminars typically based on their own intellectual interests and passions. As the Scribner Seminars are capped at 16 students, typically 45 Scribner Seminars are offered each Fall. The Chemistry Department contributes one Scribner Seminar each year. Amongst the tenure stream faculty members, we rotate who teaches in the Scribner Seminar program each year.

Below is a list of Scribner Seminars that have been offered by Chemistry faculty members since 2009.

  1. Eating Through History: The Science of British Food taught by Kimberley Frederick (2019)
  2. In The Lab and On The Screen: Selected Scientific Topics and Their Portrayal In Filmtaught by K. Aurelia Ball (2018)
  3. If The Elements Could Talk taught by Steve Frey (2017)
  4. Molecules That Matter taught by Ray Giguere (2016)
  5. Climate, Science and History: Walking Through the Climate Records taught by JuanNavea (2015)
  6. Under the Influence: Alcohol in Science and Society taught by Reba Howard (2014)
  7. Water: Society, Science and the Arts taught by Judy Halstead (2012)
  8. Coming of Age: Food, Drugs and Sex after the Biotech Revolution taught by Kelly Sheppard (2012)
  9. Forensic Science and Criminal (In)Justice taught by Kimberley Frederick (2011)
  10. Human Dilemmas taught byRay Giguere (2010 and 2013)
  11. The Hudson: Society, Science and the Arts taught by Judy Halstead (2009)

What resources and policies are provided to support faculty members?

There are multiple ways the Department and College supports faculty members.

Funding and Facilities

  • Competitive start-up funds and a research lab to support your scholarship.
  • Furnished office with computer (choice of Mac or PC). The College has site licenses for software including ChemDraw, MS Office Suite (Word, Power Point, Excel, OneNote, and Outlook), Keynote, Pages, Numbers, Box, Adobe CC Desktop, Mathematica, Gaussian, R-Studio, and SPSS.
  • In the annual departmental operating budget, $500 are set aside for each faculty member to cover societal memberships, buying books, paying for subscriptions, and other professional obligations and development. Additional funding can be requested.
  • In the Dean of Faculty’s Office, the Travel to Read/Travel to Represent program funds a faculty member up to $1,600 a year for professional travel (e.g., to conferences). The funding covers travel, registration, hotel, and meals. Additional funding can be requested.
  • Internal grants to fund collaborative research projectswith students during the summer (student stipend, faculty stipend, student room & board, and small amount for supplies).
  • Scribner Library Open Access Grant Fund to help pay for open access publication fees.
  • Faculty development and initiative grants provide support to faculty to begin new projects or enhance current work (curricular pedagogy and scholarship).
  • Student Travel to Present program funds students presenting and attending conferences. The funding covers travel, registration, hotel, and meals.
  • In terms of indirect costs from external grant awards (rate: 64% of salaries and wages funded through the award), 20% of the indirect costs go back to the Department to support research activities and 10% of the indirect costs go into an account line for the PI to use related to supporting their research. 

College Support of Faculty

  • A course release in the first year so instead of 18 contact hours the first year, you teach 14-15 contact hours. The release gives you more time to prepare for your courses and to set up your research lab.
  • Intergroup Relations (IGR) provides workshops for faculty members to address racial conflict and other diversity related issues in the classroom as well as on campus and in their lives. A number of chemistry faculty have taken part in IGR training.
  • The Center for Leadership, Teaching, and Learning(CLTL) runs a New Faculty Learning Community to provide a mentoring network for new faculty members. Additional mentoring programs run through the CLTL include for First Year Experience: Scribner Seminar, as well as for teaching in general. CLTL also provides training for faculty members as they take on leadership roles (e.g., chairing a department).
  • The CLTL also runs a number of pedagogy workshops and career discussions to help support faculty members. The CLTL also maintains a link to additional resources. Particular emphasis of the CLTL has been building an inclusive educational community on campus.
  • The CLTL also has mini-grants to “support events and projects that seek to enhance diversity and inclusion-related pedagogical efforts within the Skidmore College community.”
  • The Science Faculty Discussion Group provides an opportunity for science faculty members to support one another and discuss lab management, mentoring of students, applying for grants, and their research across disciplines.
  • Scholarly and Creative Endeavors Work Groups provide a supportive community of scholars/practitioners across disciplines through the sharing of writing, research, and creative portfolios. Groups discuss scholarship and creative work at various stages of the process, successes and challenges in the classroom and in scholarship, leadership opportunities, career transitions, and mentoring. The CLTL pays for the groups to meet over lunch once a week.
  • Sponsored Research Office supports developing, writing, and submitting grant proposals as well as managing funded proposals.
  • Black Faculty/Staff Group strengthens the relationships amongst Black faculty and staff; builds community and outreach to students, educates and engages with the community on issues related to race, the Black experience, and anti-racism; develops relationships with Black community members off-campus, caucuses with other communities of color on campus, and strengthens relationships with allies.
  • Faculty Handbook, Chair/Director Handbook, and Faculty Development Handbook.

 Departmental Support

  • Collaborative and supportive departmental environment.
  • Departmental scheduling to reduce the number of different courses you teach each semester, especially for new faculty members, as well as to reduce the number of new course preps before going up for tenure.
  • Clear departmental personnel policies and procedures for tenure.
  • Departmental peer class observations focused on developing as a teacher.
  • Departmental repository of inclusive practices and resources.
  • Departmental repository of example grant proposals, materials for organizing and managing your research group, teaching students how to write and present, and writing letters of recommendation.
  • Paid student assistants to help prepare laboratory courses (e.g., make solutions, prepare small equipment, test protocols, etc.) and/or grade homework.
  • The Department maintains a Scholarship Statement to communicate to new faculty members, the Appointments & Tenure Committee, and the Dean of Faculty’s Office, scholarship expectations and norms for chemistry programs at small liberal arts colleges.

 Sabbaticals, Leaves, and Tenure Clock Extensions

  • Pre-tenure faculty members may take a pre-tenure research leave during their 4thyear for one semester at full pay or for the full-year at half pay (grant funding can cover the other half). Faculty members may take a sabbatical after six full years of service since their pre-tenure research leave or last sabbatical (i.e., if a faculty member takes a pre-tenure research leave in their 4thyear then their first sabbatical will be in their 11thyear).Full-year Sabbatical Enhancement Awardenables 60% of salary with a full-year sabbatical or pre-tenure research leave.
  • Skidmore provides parental leave(birth parent/primary caregiver 1 paid semester off and non-birth parent/non-primary caregiver one course release).
  • Extension of the tenure clock (Faculty HandbookVIII.E.4.d, page 126) for childbirth, adoption, or personal hardship.

 

What employee benefits does Skidmore College offer faculty members?

The College provides a number of benefitsfor faculty and staff. Please also see the Domestic Partnership  Benefits Policy.

 

What is the timeline for the search process?

Tentative timeline based on previous inclusive searches we have conducted is below. Please note, we may alter based on the number of applicants - we will update this page as warranted.  Last updated October 3.

Review of applications begins by subcommittee 9/16
Inclusive pool built from application pool by subcommittee 9/27
Review of inclusive pool by subcommittee           9/27-10/04

Inclusive short list developed by subcommittee & sent to Dean

10/09

Questions e-mailed to candidates on short list 10/09
Responses due from candidates to questions      10/16
Whole committee reviews short list  10/09-10/21
Develop interview list & sent to Dean  10/23
Campus Interviews    Nov.
References contacted of relevant candidate(s) Nov.
Offer extended   Late Nov.-Dec.

                                           

What are the additional questions asked for the candidates on the short list?

They will be 3-4 follow-up questions to the materials submitted that provide the candidates on the short list an opportunity to provide more details related to their teaching and research as well on diversity and inclusion.

 

What will the campus interview entail?

Based on previous searches, below is the tentative process for the campus interview. It may be refined. We will update the website if it does and inform the candidates interviewing on campus. The full search committee are all members of the Department plus one additional faculty member at Skidmore who isn’t in the Chemistry Department. The campus interview is spread over two days. Candidates typically arrive the afternoon before the interview and leave in the late afternoon/early evening on the 2ndday of the campus visit but that is not set and we will work with your schedule. Our administrative assistant Tracy Riley will make the hotel reservations, assist you in making other arrangements for your visit, and get your expenses reimbursed as quickly as possible.

  • Meetings with faculty members on the search committee (40-50 minutes, either with individual faculty members or pairs of faculty members). Often, the first meeting of the day is over breakfast.
  • Teaching demonstration (25 minutes with 10 additional minutes for questions) Candidates will be informed well in advance about the topic and about the room the demo will take place in, relevant sections of textbooks, what level to aim for, and what knowledge you can assume the students have.
  • Research talk (45 minutes with an additional 10 minutes for questions) The talk is primarily focused on research you have conducted but also includes an overview of your research plans with undergraduates at Skidmore. The introduction of the talk should be geared for a second-year undergraduate before going into details of your work. Do keep in mind most members of the search committee are not experts in your sub-discipline.  As you move back out to conclusions, bring it back to the level of a second-year undergraduate student. It is useful then to spend 10 minutes on the research you would like to do at Skidmore with undergraduates. A Skidmore student in the Fall semester of their second year would either be in Organic I or Organic II. Please let the Department Chair know if you have specialized A/V needs.
  • Meeting with College Ambassadors (30 minutes) The ambassadors are drawn from faculty and staff outside the Chemistry Department.  The ambassador meeting is a chance for you to ask about working at Skidmore College and life in Saratoga Springs.  Those conversations are private.  No one in position to make a decision to hire will ever hear what was discussed. This meeting is focused solely on helping you learn about our community.
  • Lunch each day with groups of students (1 hour and 10 minutes on each day with Chemistry majors and minors).
  • Meeting with the Director of Sponsored Research, Mary Hoehn(30-40 minutes).
  • Meeting with the Dean of Faculty/Vice President for Academic Affairs, Michael Orr(30 minutes).
  • Meeting with the Associate Dean of Faculty for Diversity and Faculty Affairs, Janet Casey(30 minutes).
  • One dinner with search committee members.
  • One dinner with faculty members outside of the Department who are not involved in the search.Like with the College Ambassadors, this dinner with faculty members outside the Chemistry Department is private and a chance for you to learn more about the College and life in the Capital District of New York.  The search committee never hears about this dinner, and it is not part of the decision making process.
  • An exit interview with the Department Chair, Kelly Sheppard (30-40 minutes).

 

FAQ - Collaborative Research with Undergraduates

How does academic year collaborative research with students operate?

During the academic year, students may earn academic credit for conducting collaborative research. Students enrolling in CH 171 for 1 credit are expected to spend 3-5 hours per week on research, while students enrolling in CH 271 for 2 credits are expected to spend 6-8 hours per week on research, and students enrolling in CH 371 for 3 credits are expected to spend 9-11 hours per week on research. When writing a senior thesis, students may enroll in CH 385 for 4 credits and they are expected to spend 12-14 hours per week on research and writing their thesis. CH 171 and CH 271 are graded pass/fail while CH 371 and CH 385 are graded on the A-F scale.

You may also have a paid student assistant carryout research. A student who is paid cannot receive academic credit for those hours of research, though splitting is possible. For example, if the student does 12 hours of research a week, 5 hours paid then the other 7 hours can be for 2 credits (CH 271). Student assistants may be paid out of the Department budget, but that does mean less paid student assistance for preparing laboratory courses and grading. Paying student assistants can also be built into the budget of external grant proposals.

 Students conducting research at the 300-level must present either at a conference or on campus. In the Fall, they may do poster presentations as part of our end-of-semester celebration. In the Spring, students seeking departmental honors write a thesis and  orally present it to the Department during Academic Festival, while other research students have the option of presenting orally or a poster during Academic Festival. The presentations flow into our end-of-the-academic-year celebration.

 

How does summer collaborative research with students operate?

During the summer, students doing collaborative research are paid a stipend and are provided room and board. Funding comes from internal grants, start-up funds, or external grant funding. For the internal awards, the collaborative research can be 5 weeks, 8 weeks, or 10 weeks long. Students are expected to spend 35-40 hours per week on research. The application deadline for the internal awards is typically the first week in February.  The Director of Faculty-Student Summer Research organizes multiple meetings during the summer to provide a cohesive experience for students. First, all collaborative research students across campus meet to learn about the other projects on campus. The second meeting has faculty and students discuss challenges in research. The final meeting is a research symposium where students present their research either as posters or as talks. As a follow-up, Skidmore participates in the New York Six(NY 6) Undergraduate Research Symposium held in September, which enables students to present their work to a wider audience and to hear about research by undergraduates at other NY6 colleges.

How are faculty members compensated for collaborative research?

To compensate faculty during the academic year for mentoring students in collaborative research, Skidmore has theHELIOS program. Faculty members earn HELIOS credit for each academic credit of collaborative research supervised each semester. For example, if you supervised 3 students in CH 171, you would earn 3 HELIOS credits (3 students X 1 credit/student). If you supervised 2 students in CH 371 level research you would earn 6 HELIOS credits (2 students X 3 credits/student). At the end of academic year, your HELIOS credits are tallied. At that point, you have a choice of either cashing the HELIOS credits for a stipend ($115/credit) or banking the HELIOS credits. When you have banked 60 HELIOS credits, you qualify for a reduction in your teaching load one time by 3 contact hours (15 contact hours instead of 18), a course release of 3 contact hours. You may only take a HELIOS course release once every three years (twice per sabbatical cycle). Additional credits beyond that are compensated at $115/credit. During the summer, faculty members who supervise collaborative research through the internal grants are compensated with a modest stipend. A faculty member can build into the budgets of external grant proposals (e.g., to the National Science Foundation) a summer salary (e.g., equivalent to two months of your 9-month base salary).

How is collaborative research funded?

Funding for collaborative research comes from a number of sources.

  • Faculty start-up packages (negotiate for what you need to be successful in starting your research program at Skidmore for up to three years – instruments/equipment needed, consumables, chemicals, services, and to pay undergraduate researchers a stipend & to cover their room & board over the summer)
  • Departmental operating budget, indirect funds, and funds from donors
  • Capital & minor project budget requests(equipment and instruments over $1,000)
  • Internal awards for summer faculty-student collaborative research (FSSRand Schupf)
  • Faculty Development awards
  • External grant awards (e.g., NSF, NIH, ACS-PRF, Research Corporation, the Dreyfus Foundation, etc.) – The Office of Sponsored Research helps in applying for and administering funded grant proposals.

How are students recruited and encouraged to participate in collaborative research?

Each fall the Department invites students in chemistry courses at all levels to attend our Research Open House. As an incentive, we provide food and refreshments. At the Research Open House, we briefly introduce our research and then open up our research spaces so our current undergraduate researchers can talk with the students.  Students are also encouraged to meet with faculty to further discuss interests.  Students then fill out an interest form. As not all students might attend the Open House, we also send out via e-mail the interest form along with links to faculty research interests. Once students turn in the interest forms, we look them over as a Department and maximize how many students take part in collaborative research including when interests align matching students with faculty outside the Department (e.g., Biology, Geosciences, Environmental Science, and Physics). We also encourage students we teach and advise to participate in collaborative research and point out it is a high-impact learning experience, and as well in the summer, stipend, room, and board are included. We highlight how anyone can be a scientist. Our Peer-led Team Learning mentors and Peer Academic Coaches also encourage other students to participate in collaborative research. We also make collaborative research a central feature of our end-of-the-semester celebrations. In collaboration with the tour guides in admissions, we have worked on getting the message out that collaborative research is for everyone and students can start as early as their first year in college.

How many students do faculty in your department mentor each year, on average?

During the academic year, it varies between groups. Currently, the size of the groups range from 5 to 13 students, with 7-8 students being average with an average of 2-3 students at the 100-level (1 credit per semester, 3-5 hours per week), 2 students at the 200-level (2 credits per semester, 6-8 hours per week), and 2-3 students at the 300-level (3 credits per semester, 9-12 hours per week).   During the summer it is typically 1-6 students per lab.

How many summer students can be funded (per lab) through your Faculty Student Summer Research and Schupf Scholars programs?

Internal funding is not guaranteed but applications from pre-tenure faculty get priority. Typically for pre-tenure faculty, 2-4 students are internally funded each summer. For tenured faculty, it is 1-2 students. Support for collaborative research students can be built into the start-up budget for the first three years, so you are not dependent on the internal application process. External funding can also be used to fund students for summer collaborative research.

How many fume hoods will be available for the new organic chemist in the current Dana Science Center?

There are 6 fume hoods (3 feet each) that will be solely for the new hire.

 

Overview of the College, the Department, and the Area

Skidmore College Overview

Skidmore College is a selective, private liberal arts college founded on the principle of making connections between theory and practice, between the mind and the hand. Skidmore College started off as an all-women’s institution in downtown Saratoga Springs, NY. Skidmore moved to its current location on the northern edge of Saratoga Springs next to the North Woods in 1961 and began admitting men in 1971. Currently enrolling over 2,650 matriculated students, Skidmore is committed to teaching students to be active participants in our world who approach problem solving from particularly creative and interdisciplinary perspectives. An example of this educational paradigm is our Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, which has earned a national reputation for pushing beyond the boundaries of a traditional college museum to develop cutting-edge, exhibition-based pedagogies across the curriculum, including Molecules that Matter originated and co-curated by Ray Giguere in chemistry. Skidmore College’s slogan is Creative Thought Matters to “capture the central role that creativity plays on campus, not just in the arts but also in fields such as science, business, communications and the social sciences”.

The College employs 286 full-time faculty members and an additional 103 part-time faculty members with an 8:1 on-campus student to faculty ratio. Just over two-thirds of the full-time faculty members are tenure stream. The College’s 2005-2015 Strategic Planlaid out an ambitious goal of increasing the number of natural science majors by 50%. The College surpassed that goal with an increase of 90%. Currently, about one-third of all students major in the natural sciences at Skidmore. 

The College’s 2005-2015 Strategic Plan also called on Skidmore to diversify its student body along with its faculty and staff. It has been successful in those endeavors as well. In 2007, just 10% of the graduating class were domestic students of color and 1% were international students. Currently, 24% of students identify as domestic students of color, while 12% are international students. Over the same timeframe, the percent of graduates who were Pell-eligible increased from 11% to 19%. The College’s current Strategic Plan Creating Pathways to Excellence acknowledges we must do more than diversify our community; we also must be committed to “fully embrace our individual differences (e.g., personality, learning style, life experiences), as well as group and social differences (relating, e.g., to race or ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability, as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations).” It is a call for inclusive excellence.

The entering class in 2020 (graduating class of 2024) will be under a new general education curriculum that puts a greater emphasis on integrative learning both within a major and across the liberal arts. The goal is for students to make meaningful and productive connections among the courses, ideas, and experiences of a liberal arts education by being more intentional in this process.  The new general education curriculum has four major components. 1) Integrations– moments where students are asked to be more reflective about their education and to make connections across disciplinary boundaries. The required integrative courses are the First Year Experience: Scribner Seminar, the Bridge Experience: Power & Justice, and the Senior Experience: The Coda. 2) Foundations– courses centered around developing the skills and competencies expected of a graduate with a liberal arts education. The required foundation courses are Applied Quantitative Reasoning, Global Cultural Perspectives, Language Study, and Writing. 3) Inquiries– courses centered on engaging students in particular approaches to studying our world and how we express ourselves. The required inquiry courses are Artistic Inquiry, Humanistic Inquiry, and Scientific Inquiry.  4) In the Major– a set of skills and literacies to be developed and refined through the major. The requirements in the major are communication (written and oral), technology literacy, visual literacy, and information literacy.

 

Overview of the Chemistry Department

The Skidmore College Chemistry Department aspires to be a model of an inclusive program that offers students a supportive and high-quality education in chemistry, integrated with the other liberal arts, for both majors and non-majors, and, in the context of being a primarily undergraduate institution, is active and productive in research that actively engages our students in our scholarship. We therefore actively embrace the teacher-scholar-mentor model to support all of our students as the hallmark of successful chemistry departments at small liberal arts colleges. The Department is accredited by the American Chemical Society and we offer two majors, i) a Chemistry major and ii) a Chemistry major with a biochemistry concentration as well as a minor in Chemistry. Our goals for student learning are as follows:

In order to engage in and take responsibility for their own development to strive for excellence, each student majoring in Chemistry will learn to:

Content-based

  • Understand science is a systematic & inquiry-based human enterprise to better comprehend the natural world based on empirical evidence and is influenced by the cultures of its practitioners; chemistry, in particular, is the science of the composition, structures, properties, analyses, energetics, behaviors, reactions, and syntheses of matter.
  • Understand and apply chemical models to describe and predict the composition, structures, properties, energetics, behaviors, mechanisms, and reactivities of matter at appropriate levels of sophistication.
  • Understand the physical basis for spectroscopic and analytical technologies as well as their appropriate uses.
  • Develop chemical models to understand nature based on empirical evidence.
  • Apply chemical knowledge and understanding to socially significant endeavors.

Skill-based

  • Use both qualitative and quantitative methods to solve chemical problems.
  • Design and conduct increasingly sophisticated chemical experiments.
  • Critically interpret, evaluate, and analyze scientific information including chemical literature and data.
  • Effectively communicate scientific information in oral, written, and visual formats to both professional and general audiences.
  • Collaborate in an inclusive manner to pursue common goals. 
  • Employ responsible and ethical practices in interactions with others, experimental design, data collection and analysis, documentation, reporting, and attribution. 
  • Assess safety concerns both in and out of the laboratory and employ best practices to address.

We are currently comprised of 13 faculty members (8 tenure stream faculty, 3 instructors, and 2 teaching professors), covering the five main sub-disciplines of chemistry, plus two administrative assistants (shared with Biology) and an instrumentation manager. Many of our laboratory courses incorporate projects and have students design their own experiments in a cooperative fashion with their classmates. In the classroom, we use multiple active learning pedagogies including group work with worksheets such as Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL), pair-sharing, small group discussions, clickers, and Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL). Many of us also use pre-course reflections to learn about our students, including preferred names and gender pronouns, and to get the students to connect their personal values with what we teach in our courses. We incorporate Universal Design for Learning and differentiated learning approaches. We have also designed more inclusive syllabi to better highlight strategies and approaches for success, and communicate that we care and are here for our students. To cut back on the costs of taking chemistry courses, many of us use open educational resources (OERs) in place of traditional textbooks, including Chemistry from OpenStax for our 100-level courses. In addition, we do NOT charge lab fees. 

 We actively publish peer-reviewed articles with undergraduate co-authors and present at conferences with our students as well as fund our work through both external and internal grants.

Over the last few years, we have averaged 21 majors per graduating class (8 chemistry majors per class, 13 biochemistry concentration majors per class). Students may earn an ACS certified degree through either track. About 94% of our majors take part in collaborative research during their time at Skidmore. In terms of our graduates over the last three years, 55% identify as women and 25% as domestic students of color. After graduating, about 35% of our majors enter graduate programs in chemistry, biochemistry, or a related field. Another 31% enroll in graduate programs in health care, primarily medicine, while 8% choose other graduate programs including pursing an MBA or a JD. Of those who don’t pursue an advanced degree, they find employment in a wide range of positions in academia and industry as well as health care, sales, science education, and outreach.

 

Overview of Chemistry Facilities & Instrumentation

Current Facilities

The Chemistry Department is currently housed in the Dana Science Center that was completed in 1968 with an addition built in 1996. Presently, Dana also houses the departments of Biology, Geosciences, and Physics as well as the Environmental Studies & Science Program, and part of the Neuroscience Program. The Skidmore Analytical Interdisciplinary Laboratory (SAIL), which houses a number of instruments used by Chemistry, and the Skidmore Microscopy Imaging Center (SMIC) are also located in Dana. Currently, the Mathematics & Statistics and Computer Science Departments are adjacently located in Harder Hall, while the Health & Human Physiological Sciences Department is in the Athletic Center and Psychology with part of the Neuroscience Program is in the Tisch Learning Center.

 

Center for Integrated Sciences

Skidmore is in the process of building the Center for Integrated Sciences (CIS) which will unite the 10 Natural Science Departments and Programs at the College, as well as SAIL and SMIC, in one modern, forward-thinking facility that has integrative learning and collaboration at the forefront. The project includes building 118,000 square feet of new construction, the North Wing and East Wing of the CIS, and renovation of the current Dana facilities.

The first phase of the project, building the North Wing of the CIS, will be completed by the summer of 2020. By the Fall of 2020, Chemistry will be teaching 100-level and organic chemistry labs on the third floor of the North Wing of the CIS. The spaces are designed with collaboration and active, project-based laboratories in mind including dry spaces for students to plan and discuss their lab work together. As the new organic chemistry teaching lab will open in the Fall of 2020, you will be able to teach organic chemistry labs in a new space starting your first year.

The second phase of the project, the East Wing and renovation of the Dana Addition, is to be completed by summer 2022 enabling the rest of the Chemistry Department, along with SAIL, to occupy new facilities on the third floor of the East Wing by the Fall of 2022. The Chemistry research labs in the East Wing are designed with collaborative research with students in mind to build community and encourage conversations while facilitating high-quality specialized research. The renovation of the rest of Dana will complete the CIS project by the summer of 2024.

Research space for the advertised tenure stream position in Chemistry is planned in the East Wing with the other Chemistry research laboratories. As the new hire will start in the Fall 2020, you will have the opportunity to shape the space to your needs before it is built. In the meantime, you will have a research lab in the Department’s current space in Dana. The current and planned research spaces have multiple hoods for synthetic work.

 

Instrumentation and Equipment

The Department has multiple instruments for research and teaching including spectrometers (UV-vis, FTIR, Raman, and NMR), a GC-MS, an HPLC, an IC, microwave reactor, and a microwave sample digester as well as multiple rotary evaporators and typical other equipment (e.g., analytical balances, heat blocks, freezers, drying ovens, etc.) and glassware. The NMR spectrometer is a 300 MHz instrument. The Department is currently putting together an NSF MRI proposal for new NMR spectrometer to be submitted January 2020. The NSF funded SAIL has a GC-MS, an LC-MS, an FTIR, an atomic absorption spectrometer, an HPLC, an IC, an XRD, and XRFthat are often used by members of the Department. Dr. Lisa Quimby serves as the instrument manager for both Chemistry and SAIL. SMIC houses a SEM, a TEM, two confocal laser scanning microscopes, and multiple light microscopes. The College uses the REMI Group to cover the costs associated with maintaining and repairing the instruments. The Department annually can submit capital budget requests to purchase new equipment and instruments.

 

 

Saratoga Springs and the Capital District (Albany Metro Area)

Skidmore College is located in Saratoga Springs, NY with a population of over 26,500, nestled in the foothills of the Adirondacks just 30 miles north of Albany, NY. Saratoga Springs ranks as one of the best college towns(Travel & Leisure) with one of “America’s Greatest Main Streets” (Travel & Leisure). Money Magazine has ranked it as one of the nation’s top 100 places to live. The downtown is full of restaurants(top five in the US for restaurants per capita), shops, spas, hotels, and the Beekman Street Arts District with most of the public parking free of charge. Caffè Lena, where Ani DeFranco and Bob Dylan got their starts, is downtown with a number of the mineral springs the city became famous for during the 19thcentury and Congress Park. The Saratoga Springs Farmer’s Market is downtown on Wednesdays and Saturdays (May-October) at High Rock Park. November-April, the Farmer’s Market moves indoors to the Lincoln Baths Building(Saturdays only).

 A major draw during the summer are the horse races at the Saratoga Race Track. The races go from mid-July through Labor Day including the Travers Stakes. Beyond horse racing, a number of annual events are hosted in the local area throughout the year including Saratoga First Night, Chowderfest, Victorian Street Walk, Summer Concert Series, road races, restaurant week, and wine festivals. On the southern edge of the city, is Saratoga Spa State Park where the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) is located. SPAC is the summer home of the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, New York City Ballet and the Philadelphia Orchestra. SPAC also hosts a number of Live Nation Concerts(Rock, Country, and Hip Hop) and events for families. SPAC is also the location for Skidmore commencement ceremonies. Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center also hosts a number of performances and events. Nearby is the Saratoga National Historic Park, site of the Battle of Saratoga, as well as Saratoga Lake. With the Adirondacks nearby, there are plenty of hiking opportunities. Lake George and Lake Placid are short drives away. For skiing, Whitefaceand Gore mountains in New York are nearby as are Killington and Mount Snow in Vermont.

Saratoga Springs is part of the Capital District metropolitan area of over 1,170,000 residents. Albany, Schenectady, and Troy form the Tri-City core of the region. The region boasts a number of museumsperformance venues(e.g., the Egg, the Palace Theatre, Proctor’s Theatre, and the Times Union Center) and other attractions with a number of events throughout the year. Major employers, beyond the state government of New York, include Albany Medical Center, Albany Molecular Research Inc. (AMRI), Bechtel Marine Propulsion/Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories, Ellis Medicine, Global Foundries, General Electric, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and Saratoga Hospital.  Other colleges and universities in the area include Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), the University at Albany (SUNY-Albany), Union College, Albany Medical College, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, The Sage Colleges, Siena College, and the College of St. Rose. CDTA runs buses throughout the region which are free to ride with a Skidmore ID. Albany International Airport  is served by a number of different carriers (United, Delta, Air Canada, Southwest, American Airlines, Allegiant, Frontier, and Jet Blue).  The Capital District is also served by Amtrak(stops in Rensselaer-Albany, Schenectady, and Saratoga Springs) with service to New York City and Montreal (Adirondack Service) as well as Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and Niagara Falls (Empire Service), Boston and Chicago (Lake Shore Limited), and Toronto (Maple Leaf Service). Cities in the region are easily accessible within three hours by driving, including New York City to the south, Rochester to the west, Montreal to the north, and Boston to the east.

 

Links for Visiting, Moving and Living in the Area

Skidmore Housing Forum

Skidmore’s Local and Regional Cultural Resources Guide

Saratoga Springs City School District

Relocating to Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs Real Estate and Rentals

Transportation

Saratoga Springs Visitors Guide

Capital Region Visitors Guide

Albany/Capital Region Seasonal & Specialty Guides

Lodging in Saratoga Springs and surrounding area