Shepherd’s Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry has been accredited by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), making Shepherd the only institution in West Virginia to achieve this particular accreditation.
This is also the first program in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics to gain national accreditation, according to Dr. Robert Warburton, acting dean. Warburton said the accreditation will benefit chemistry majors from Shepherd who generally go on to study medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, or attend graduate school. He said students in the biochemistry program will now be able to take an additional exam put together by ASBMB that will give them a degree of distinction when they graduate.
“That obviously is going to be something very nice for the résumé,” Warburton said. “If you’re competing for a position in grad school, or for a job, and you can say ‘my degree has a national accreditation and is now listed as a degree of distinction,’ that might be the thing that gets you the interview that you might not have gotten otherwise.”
Dr. Dan DiLella, chair of the Department of Chemistry, said the accreditation is validation that Shepherd has qualified faculty and offers well-designed courses.
“They evaluated not just the chemistry program, but all the support programs, like biology and our lab facilities,” DiLella said. “We had to meet some pretty strict standards in order to get this accreditation.”
DiLella said one unique feature of Shepherd’s chemistry program is that it requires all students to take part in a current research project. As a result, students have been able to participate in innovative cancer research and gene editing projects either at Shepherd or at other institutions.
“It’s state-of-the-art type of work, it’s not just classical chemistry that could have been done 50 years ago,” DiLella said. “It’s really up to date.”
Shepherd’s ASBMB accreditation in biochemistry is valid for seven years.