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North Central and Hooke College of Applied Sciences to Offer Degree in Chemical Microscopy

Chuck Zona, Vice President and Dean of Hooke College of Applied Sciences, and Jeff Jankowski, professor at North Central College and founder of the chemical microscopy program.

Chemical & Engineering News

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (Aug. 22, 2011)—North Central College in Naperville and Hooke College of Applied Sciences in Westmont are partnering to offer the nation’s first four-year degree in chemical microscopy.

Students who choose the new program will gain a solid liberal arts education during three years of study in North Central College’s American Chemical Society-accredited curriculum. During their fourth year they’ll study and work alongside expert faculty at Hooke College of Applied Sciences. Graduates will finish with a bachelor’s degree in chemical microscopy from North Central College and have the education and experience to give their careers a distinct advantage.

“This is the first and only program of its type in the country,” says Jeff Jankowski, associate professor of chemistry at North Central College. “With this interdisciplinary and interprofessional program, we are going to advance student learning by bringing together academia and the commercial/industrial sector.”

Chemical microscopy involves the use of light and electron microscopes, microchemical tests and spectroscopy to solve problems in the forensic, pharmaceutical, environmental sciences, government and military fields, among others. This program brings together a curriculum based on advanced instrumentation, problem-solving skills and critical thinking methods at the undergraduate level, which until now were collectively only accessible to industry professionals.

At Hooke College’s 40,000-square-foot learning center, North Central College students will participate in highly specialized microscopy coursework in Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Raman, polarized light microscopy and scanning electron and transmission electron microscopy. Courses also cover particle isolation and manipulation, and optical crystallography techniques.

“Students in this program will gain a tremendous head start in the job market by gaining skills and experience most chemistry majors will not have,” says Richard E. Bisbing, executive vice president of Hooke College. “All of our courses involve hands-on learning alongside expert scientists, which gives students a feel for what the laboratory experience is really like.”

Many of Hooke College’s instructors are senior research scientists at McCrone Associates Inc., internationally recognized as a leader in materials science. These instructors bring decades of microscopy and microanalytical knowledge and experience to the classroom. Specialties include a wide range of fields, including art and archaeology, food contamination, forensic science, gunshot residue analysis, medical devices, packaging, pharmaceuticals and more.