Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

PHYSICS AT BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY Steve Turley June 26, 2010.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "PHYSICS AT BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY Steve Turley June 26, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 PHYSICS AT BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY Steve Turley June 26, 2010

2 Outline  Introduction to BYU  Department Culture  Introductory Courses  Advanced Courses  Student Mentoring  Majors

3 Facts About BYU  Location: Provo, Utah  Total Undergraduate Enrollment: capped at about 30,000  Private, Religiously Oriented  significant financial support from LDS church  vast majority of students are Mormon  Students from all 50 states and 110 foreign countries, but mostly from the West  30% from Utah  13% from California  5% each from Washington, Idaho, Texas

4 History  University founded 1875 (high school)  First physics course 1881  First full-time physics instructor 1901  First physics graduate (Fletcher), 1907  Department formed 1911 (Fletcher)  C. F. Eyring head,  MS degrees 1933, PhD in 1959

5 Admissions Selectivity  Some enrollment pressure, but most applicants are admitted  Some self-selection  Average high school GPA: 3.8  90% have ACT scores between 24 and 30  Relatively high retention (about 93%)

6 BYU Physics Faculty  33 Full-Time Faculty (11 Prof/16 Assoc/6 Asst)  Almost all are research-active  Research areas  Astronomy/astrophysics  Acoustics  Plasma  Atomic  Optical  Condensed Matter  Nuclear  General Relativity  Statistical Mechanics

7 Number of Physics Majors  Grew significantly from , a period when other programs were shrinking  Stable since then.

8 Graduates Per Year

9 Relatively Small Graduate Program

10 Department Culture  Student emphasis  Collegiality  College and institutional ties strong  past history  alignment with institutional values  Values  Teaching  Relationships  Excellence

11 Attracting and Retaining Majors  Orientation  Advisement  Promoting student-student interactions  Faculty mentoring  Undergraduate research  Teaching emphasis  Department culture

12 Orientation  Freshmen meeting with SPS Officers, Associate Chair, and U-grad Advisor  Introductions  Suggestions for Success  Undergraduate Handbook  Required Introduction to Physics Class

13 Advisement  Formal Advising  Class advisors  On-call advisors  College Advisement Center  Peer Advisors  Informal Advising  Research Advisors  Other Students

14 Promoting Student-Student Interactions  Very Active SPS Chapter  Monthly meetings  Outreach  Undergraduate Study Room  Open Tutorial Labs  Peer Instruction  Undergraduate Research Groups

15 Teaching Emphasis  Evaluation  Annual interviews  Rank and status reviews  Departmental Teaching Discussions  Outstanding full-time faculty teach general education and service courses  Student involvement as TA’s  Collegial environment for constructive formative and summative evaluation of each other’s teaching

16 Introductory Courses  taught in large sections ( )  taught by our best full-time faculty  mostly taken by engineers, other majors in our college, and potential physics majors  seen as critical to attracting and keeping majors  many decide on a physics major their freshman and sophomore years

17 Calculus-Based Physics

18 Algebra-Based Physics

19 General Education

20 Physical Science 100

21 Transition Courses  Introductory labs taught early in their experience to give them tools needed for undergraduate research  Modern Physics class first one with mostly physics majors  emphasis on professional development  encouragement to seek research experiences  connections with other majors

22 Upper Division Courses  variety, taught frequently (large department)  enrollment  standard texts and sequences: math physics, computational physics, labs, thermal physics, optics, electricity and magnetism, quantum mechanics  specialized courses: astrophysics, acoustics, solid state  special topics (rare): biophysics, chaos

23 Faculty Mentoring  Undergraduate Research Experiences  Many start in first and second year  Students recruiting students  SPS Research night  Inviting students to lunch  Faculty accessibility  Office hours  Open door policy

24 Undergraduate Research  Senior Thesis, Honors Thesis, Capstone Experience, or Student Teaching required of all graduates.  Most get department, college, or university support  Assessment  Alumni survey: overwhelming majority said it was a good or excellent experience  Exit interviews: very challenging, but often a defining undergraduate experience  Requires a lot of faculty time

25 Senior and Honors Theses

26 Capstone Projects

27 Majors

28 Physics Education  Used to complain about the preparation of our entering students  Realized, we were training most of their teachers  Allies and colleagues  student preparation  recruitment  Great TA’s  Stimulate department discussion of teaching

29 Relationships  strong support from college and other departments  good cooperation with College of Education  gave us an FTE to hire teacher education specialist  we help them a lot with supervising student teaching and many committee assignments  students get strong reinforcement from faculty about choice of secondary teaching (class and research groups)  these are sometimes some of our best students (Carolyn Evans)

30 Decision on Physics Education Major  all of the students I interviewed made final decision about major after coming to BYU  majors  some from other physics majors  many from other departments (flexible entry)  introductory courses matter a lot  pedagogy  engagement

31 Departmental Support  full-fledged students (Spring Research Conference Award winners)  rewards for excellence in tutoring labs, etc.  mentoring (teaching and research groups)  “every way we can”  facilitate late entry into major  ask students and TA’s for opinions on teaching  personalize courses to their interests (paper topics, for instance)  students need to feel valued, cared for, and assisted

32 Cultural Helps  service-oriented school  strong culture of teaching  department  missionary experience  strong emphasis on families  secondary school teaching often a good choice for students who want to spend f a lot of time with families  momentum (word of mouth)  many different reasons for making choice

33 Other Factors  Methods class taught by someone with classroom experience  Shared core courses  One physics teacher responsible for whole group  Excellent relationships with local schools  Weekly “group meetings”  build apparatus  talk about salaries  discuss job opportunities  answer questions

34 Change of Culture  Five years ago we averaged a couple of physics graduates a year  Major change  hired good people  shift in department culture  concerted effort  Now average about 12 physics education graduates a year  5% of total U.S. physics education graduates in 2006

35 Alumni Survey—Recruiting  Personal enrichment (91%)  Reputation of faculty (29%)  Reputation of program (36%)  Interest in subject area (100%)  Influence of family (39%)  Influence of other students (13%)  Influence of faculty members (20%)

36 When Students Chose Major  Before college 53%  Freshman year 21%  Sophomore year 14%  Junior year 4%  Senior year 1%

37 Why Students Chose Major  Direct interest in subject (53)  Understanding how things work (48)  Indirect Interest  Math (23)  Other field(4)  Flexible/Broad major (17)  Difficulty  Challenge/Intellectual Stimulation (22)  Aptitude (10)

38 Choosing a Physics Major  Disciplinary Characteristics  Fun(13)  Religious/Aesthetic Reasons (10)  Problem solving (9)  Hands-on (8)  Fundamental, logical, concrete, meaningful, creative surprises  Financial  Career good (4)  Scholarship (1)

39 Recruiting Influence of Others  High School Course/Teacher (23)  College Course  Introductory Course (14)  Caring Faculty (2)  Family (6)

40 Why Students Kept Major  Continued interest in subject (69)  Community: Professors (28), Students (11)  Inertia/Perseverance (23)  Challenge/Reward/Growth/Prestige (23)  Research Experiences (10)  Job/Career (8)  Broad Subject, Options (7)  Aptitude (6)  Still fun (5)

41 Other Reasons to Stay  Predictable subject (“not art”)  Like learning new things  Organization of Department or Major  Increased understanding  Enjoy math or problem solving  Family encouragement  Want to help world or community  Religious motivations  Scholarship requirement

42 Summary  Many factors lead to a strong department  Department culture and relationships important  result from intangibles  passing these on to the next generation  Count the cost  Play to your strengths  Physics education defines our future


Download ppt "PHYSICS AT BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY Steve Turley June 26, 2010."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google