In the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many, many Black people throughout history, we feel an urgent need as individuals and members of our institution to denounce racism, affirm Black lives matter, and come to terms with our own roles and complicity in systems of oppression. We echo President Mandel’s and other student groups’ and departments’ condemnation of racism and injustice. As chemists, educators, and human beings, we pledge to lend our voices and our actions to the growing movement for racial justice.
As a Department, we are reflecting on how to turn our outrage and sadness into productive change. Chemistry as a field has been slow to commit itself to anti-racist practices. We recognize that silence and inaction serve to uphold an unjust system. We commit to acknowledging, identifying, and combating racism within the chemistry community, starting in our offices, laboratories and classrooms.
To this end, we have drafted an action plan outlining how we will (1) continue to educate ourselves around issues of power and oppression, particularly within our field and (2) foster an environment that is safe, inclusive, and explicitly anti-racist. We invite students to be partners with us in this difficult but crucially important work, and welcome feedback on our plans and progress. The action plan itself is dynamic, but our commitment is unwavering.
The Chemistry Department is excited to see everyone this fall, be it in-person or online. Please let us know if you have questions about class, research, etc. We are committed to making your experience in the Chemistry Department safe, enjoyable, rigorous.
Changes to Major Requirements
for the Classes of 2021 and 2022:
Recognizing that the 2020-2021 academic year will bring some challenges and uncertainties for Williams students, we are adapting the major requirements. For students in the Class of 2021 and Class of 2022, you may fulfill your upper level elective requirements with at least two (rather than three) courses with a laboratory component. The major still requires 9 chemistry courses, or 8 with two approved courses from biology/computer science/physics/mathematics.
See Overview in “The Major” section for a full description of the major requirements.
The Chemistry Department of Williams College provides coordinated programs of studies in all of the fundamental fields of chemistry as part of a liberal arts education. These make use of the facilities of the Thompson Chemistry Laboratory, the Morley Science Laboratories, and the South Science Building and furnish thorough preparation for graduate study in chemistry, chemical engineering, biochemistry, environmental science, medicine, and the medical sciences. The Department is accredited by the American Chemical Society.
Our courses lead students from a wide variety of secondary school science backgrounds rapidly into advanced levels, and develop a foundation and perspective for research activities and an awareness of contemporary chemistry. All members of the faculty are available to students for assistance and guidance regarding their progress and their plans for the future.