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About the School

Vision and Mission Statement

Vision

Our vision is to be a community of teacher-scholars committed to creating an environment of distinctiveness and excellence that supports and nurtures students as scholars and encourages learning through inquiry, all within the framework of a broad liberal arts and sciences education.

The School of Sciences and Mathematics provides the foundation of both scientific literacy and mathematical numeracy that are essential components of a broad education for all students. In addition, the school's coursework establishes and emphasizes depth of disciplinary knowledge as well as connections between and among disciplines.

The School of Sciences and Mathematics is dedicated to maintaining high quality instruction characterized by a focus on the education of individual students, an innovative and challenging curriculum, and high academic standards. The faculty have as their three key professional goals to:

  • stimulate learning,
  • convey understanding of and appreciation for their disciplines, and
  • continue their scholarly activities and guide undergraduate research.

Programs are continually scrutinized for their effectiveness in producing scientific and mathematical proficiency in all graduates of the College of Charleston. Imaginative and creative teaching techniques and innovative use of technology in classrooms and laboratories supplement traditional methods to achieve optimum student learning. The atmosphere maintained in the learning environment manifests a commitment to providing a global perspective and an appreciation for the impact of science and mathematics on society. Special programs attract and encourage students from under-represented populations.

Academic programs at the School of Sciences and Mathematics are both distinctive and excellent. In some cases, the distinctiveness is because programs have been built upon geographical or other special considerations that characterize the College of Charleston. Examples include marine sciences, life sciences, and geology and environmental sciences. Other programs are distinctive because they are traditional in content but are characterized by particularly high quality. Mathematics, computer science, chemistry, and physics and astronomy are examples in this category. The College of Charleston is recognized regionally for the academic excellence of its science and mathematics programs. This is demonstrated by the production of science and mathematics graduates in numbers that are disproportionate to the size of the student body at the College of Charleston. Programs are consistently rated excellent by objective indicators. Examples include commendations of Excellence by the South Carolina Commission of Higher Education, and accreditation by disciplinary bodies.

Research and scholarship by students and faculty provide the foundation for programs in the School of Sciences and Mathematics. Scholarship is expected of faculty since it imbues faculty with the passion and excitement for learning that they can then convey to their students. Outstanding teaching springs from the well of mental engagement in the process of inquiry. Science and Mathematics programs emphasize research by faculty and students as an extraordinarily effective form of teaching. Independent-study, faculty-student research, and other types of one-on-one interaction between student and professor are of primary importance to all departments in the School of Sciences and Mathematics, as these experiences provide the personal interaction between faculty and students that is essential to a liberal arts education.

Mission

Our mission is to integrate discovery, innovation and education in order to serve our students, our state and our nation. The principal responsibility of the School of Sciences and Mathematics is to provide the science and mathematics courses for all students at the College, and, concomitantly, to equip students who major in sciences and/or mathematics with the knowledge and skills to pursue careers in a wide variety of fields, including, science, engineering, medicine and allied health, law, social services, and journalism. The school's graduate programs have been carefully selected both to complement the undergraduate programs in areas of significant national strength and to meet the intellectual, professional and economic needs of the region and the state.

Our vision and our mission are founded on our core values -- those principles that define and guide the way in which we achieve our mission. The School of Sciences and Mathematics reflects the values of a public liberal arts and sciences university. We value:

  • Students as individuals
  • Our colleagues and peers as teachers and scholars
  • Commitment to responsible and ethical practices in research and pedagogy
  • Inquiry and intellectual curiosity
  • Meaningful engagement with the community, region and state
  • Collaborative effort and lifelong learning
  • Diversity and dialogue
  • Assessment and accountability as key tools to drive continuous improvement

Our goals in science are to help assure that all graduates of the College of Charleston:

  1. Can demonstrate understanding of some of the fundamental scientific concepts and theories about the natural world;
  2. Acquire a knowledge of the evidence, ideas, and models that scientists use to make judgments about the natural world;
  3. Acquire a knowledge about science and technology as they shape contemporary experience and values, and demonstrate an appreciation of the historical and contemporary impact of science on daily life;
  4. Develop the skills of logical and critical thinking necessary to explore how the natural world works;
  5. Can demonstrate an appreciation and understanding of the scientific method of inquiry;
  6. Understand that scientific knowledge is based on the outcomes of testing of hypotheses and theories that are under constant scrutiny and subject to revision based on new observations, and such knowledge s not just a collection of facts;
  7. Can demonstrate an ability to distinguish between science and technology and appreciate the capabilities and limitations of both;

Our goals in mathematics are to help assure that all graduates:

  1. Develop an appreciation for the practical value of mathematics in the modern world;
  2. Can interpret mathematical models such as formulas, graphs, tables, and schemata, draw inferences and make decisions from them, and communicate these conclusions verbally;
  3. Can organize information, recognize patterns and relationships, and represent them mathematically;
  4. Can use mathematical, analytical, and statistical methods to solve problems and recognize limits of the methods;
  5. Can estimate and check answers to mathematical problems in order to determine whether an answer is reasonable, and critically appraise numerical information;
  6. Can apply mathematical methods in the context of other disciplines, and reason logically and recognize where conclusions can be drawn from a set of hypotheses.

For Sciences and Mathematics majors, the School has the responsibility to lead students toward acquiring a depth of knowledge and competence in their respective disciplines. In particular, science and mathematics graduates should have:

  1. The ability to recount and explain the basic facts and postulates of the discipline and to use these in the solution of problems with which the discipline concerns itself;
  2. Proficiency in the use of the techniques and tools of the discipline;
  3. An awareness of the resources of the discipline and the ability to seek out and assimilate knowledge that has not been a part of the classroom experience;
  4. The ability to relate knowledge in the discipline to other disciplines.

A key element of our mission is accountability, which includes regular assessments of the effectiveness of School of Sciences and Math programs. Departments must be alert to opportunities to measure their programs against objective indicators of programmatic quality, such as accreditation reviews and external program evaluations.

The School of Sciences and Mathematics recognizes that a college education is not merely an independent activity that follows high school but is part of a greater educational experience that begins in kindergarten. Academic departments are sensitive to their obligation to promote education at all levels. Consequently, faculty engagement in pre-college activities with students and teachers is regarded as an important part of the mission of the school.

A central element of the mission of the School of Sciences and Mathematics is to sustain the involvement of its faculty in research and scholarship. Scholarly activities of the faculty not only are essential for maintaining the intellectual environment that characterizes an excellent institution of higher learning, but they support the mission of the College by providing students a community in which to engage in original inquiry and creative expression. Faculty are urged to guide students in research activities whenever possible. All undergraduate programs in the School of Sciences and Mathematics use independent study and student-faculty research as important methods for developing intellectual independence and creativity as well as for teaching appreciation and understanding of sciences and mathematics. Research is central to the goal of leading students to connect their coursework with the techniques and applications of their disciplines.

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