by Jessica Driscoll
In December, Northeastern University’s biochemistry program became one of the first four in the nation to be accredited through the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) – indicating that it meets or exceeds professional standards, giving students an advantage with prospective employers and graduate schools.
Dr. David Budil, director of the Biochemistry program, associate professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and associate dean for research for the College of Science, said, though professional organizations in fields like chemistry and engineering have long served as accrediting agencies for their specific areas of study, there has been no accrediting body for biochemistry and molecular biology up to this point. In 2010, the ASBMB was awarded a National Science Foundation grant to develop national accreditation standards, with Northeastern professor Carla Mattos serving as one of the key investigators for the grant.
“Because this was a pilot program, we submitted documentation from our department – including CVs for everyone involved in the program – for review,” said Budil. “We were awarded accreditation at the end of December.”
Budil said the biochemistry program’s research capacity was one category reviewed in the accreditation process.
“Our chemistry and biology departments emphasize research, and we’re very active, and I think that was recognized by the accrediting agency,” he said.
Villanova, Virginia Tech and Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina also received biochemistry accreditation.
According to the ASBMB, the goals of its Degree Accreditation Program are to provide:
- A national, outcomes-based mechanism by which students receiving a B.S. or B.A. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology – or closely-related majors – are given an opportunity to have their degree accredited by the ASBMB
- A vehicle for recognizing undergraduate programs whose features and infrastructure fulfill the agency’s expectations
- And access to an independently-constructed and scored instrument for assessing student achievement and program effectiveness.
“We are very proud of this accreditation, which is another recognition of the competitiveness of Northeastern’s Biochemistry Program on a national level, following upon the Outstanding Student Chapter Award to the Biochemistry Club at last year’s ASBMB meeting in Boston,” said Budil.