Physical Chemistry Research at Undergraduate Institutions: Innovative and Impactful Approaches


Natural Sciences

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Source

In Physical Chemistry Research at Undergraduate Institutions: Innovative and Impactful Approaches, American Chemical Society

Publication Date




First Page


Last Page



A tenure-track position at a primarily undergraduate university (PUI) is highly rewarding, but can also be stressful with many new obligations and responsibilities that faculty were not necessarily prepared for during their graduate studies or postdoctoral fellowships. In particular, PUI computational chemists are likely to be the only computational experts in their department, and thus may not have access to experienced mentors to offer advice on establishing and maintaining a successful research group specializing in computational chemistry. In this chapter, we offer faculty beginning a tenure-track position advice and guidance on how to setup a young research lab. We describe several important considerations that faculty must contemplate as they start their labs. Furthermore, we detail different likely scenarios that faculty might encounter based on varying levels of financial, technical, and administrative support at a PUI and how faculty should proceed with establishing a new lab based on their specific situation. Finally, we provide advice for new faculty on how to recruit and train new students, as well as other important decisions faculty must make when trying to build a productive research group. This chapter provides a clear list of the most important aspects of creating a new computational chemistry research group to help new tenure-track faculty get started and be successful in the short- and long-term.