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A college collage: science and mathematics

Photo courtesy of Kirsten Magas.

With construction underway on the Sciences and Engineering Center, the University is gearing up to launch its first ever, stand-alone engineering major: biomedical engineering. The program, set to commence in fall 2019, has already begun accepting high school seniors.

Although plans for the new major are undergoing final tweaks before going through the formal curriculum approval process, Dr. Radha Pyati, dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics (CSM), disclosed that the University has hired an experienced biomedical engineer to spearhead the program. The new director has previously launched a successful undergraduate biomedical engineering program at Widener University.

The move to the new academic space is not the only upcoming change for the College of Sciences and Mathematics. In addition to the physics department also moving to the new building, the College has introduced a new global studies minor, hired two new computer science professors to replace retiring faculty and appointed a new director for the pharmaceutical product development program.

The new global studies minor under the department of political science will benefit students from a wide variety of majors throughout the University’s other Colleges. The new minor is intended to look outward internationally and will be led by Dr. Peter Loedel, who is coming back to the CSM faculty after having led the Center for International Programs for several years.

Student research, internships, accelerated programs and other real-world exposure are an integral part of the student experience as a CSM undergraduate. The CSM currently offers an accelerated master’s in computer science, an accelerated master’s in mathematics and a 3-2 Physics-Engineering program in which students complete a bachelor’s in Physics at West Chester University in three years and two years of graduate work at a partner institution to receive a master’s in engineering.

As the University’s student headcount grows, the College of Sciences and Mathematics is experiencing significant growth and student demand on particular programs, specifically computer science. Dr. Pyati noted she also expects to see an influx of interest in the pharmaceutical product development program under the new direction of chemistry professor Dr. Thomas Simpson.

‘In addition to the physics department also moving, the College has introduced a new Global Studies minor, hired two new Computer Science professors and appointed a new director for the Pharmaceutical Product Development program.’

One of the main initiatives Pyati addressed in response to student growth is being able to increase faculty size. The college currently has 146 permanent (tenure and tenure track) faculty members. That number ranges between an average of nine to 10 faculty members per department and up to 28 in larger departments, such as psychology and mathematics. “We want to have enough faculty to teach students in classes and to have class sizes that are productive, meaningful experiences for students regardless of class size,” said Pyati.

With the new, state of the art facility and the Anderson classroom remodels generating space across campus, Pyati and faculty are anticipating a reallocation of spaces in the Science Complex. With student growth taken into consideration, the extra space will likely be used for physical growth such as new laboratories, classrooms and faculty and student research labs.

For West Chester University community members interested in learning about the different types of research CSM students are taking part in alongside faculty, the College hosts a Research Poster Day each semester. The next session will be held in early April, and “is a wonderful opportunity to hear about the amazing work that our students are doing, not just our faculty, but our students with our faculty,” says Pyati. Anyone interested in these collaborative research innovations or the College’s student award ceremony on April 12 are encouraged to attend. 

Danielle Venino is a fourth-year majoring in communication studies with minors in journalism and media and culture. DV851965@wcupa.edu

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