An Update on CMC’s New Science Department

The plan for an independent science department at CMC is “moving full-steam ahead,” with the administration expected to reach financial targets within the next few months, according to Peter Uvin, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty.

Students in the Class of ’23 or ’24 could potentially be the first ones to take classes with newly hired CMC science faculty. CMC “will gradually increase the total number of science faculty available for all students at the three colleges, while still being part of Keck Science” as the college transitions to its own science department, Uvin told The Forum in an email. “Our students will have continuity of education throughout this period, getting courses and mentoring from Keck faculty and the new faculty we have hired.”

“The College has engaged over the years a great group of alumni, parents, and friends who are interested in supporting a high-quality science department as part of the liberal arts education we deliver so well at CMC,” Uvin commented to the Forum when asked about sources of funding. “That includes members of the Board and many others.”

Last October, President Hiram Chodosh announced CMC’s plans “to create an independent science department and construct a new science facility” aimed at a more refined focus on computer and data science and at doubling current scientific resources available to the three colleges (CMC, Scripps and Pitzer). The CMC community, as well as other concerned parties, raised many concerns about the feasibility and potential implications of the project, many of which were addressed in Dean Uvin’s recent email.

CMC and Keck reached a unanimous decision April 16 for the establishment of CMC’s new science department, a proposed approach to tenure and timeline for withdrawal from Keck Science department, Uvin said in his email to the CMC community on May, 2.

The Board’s focus in the near future will be on developing practical fundraising approaches, architectural construction plans, refinement of financial models and search for potential candidates as the founding chair, according to Uvin’s message. On April 26, the Board confirmed its endorsement for the new science department, setting financial benchmarks for each stage of the proposed plan.

The 5C community will carefully observe future development of the plan that has the potential to revolutionize scientific education at the Claremont Colleges.