Mission and Vision
The primary mission of the Physics Department is to provide a full academic program for students pursuing a B. S. Major in Physics or Minor in Applied Physics and/or Minor in Aerospace Science; College Physics for students fulfilling the requirements of the college’s core curriculum in laboratory sciences; University Physics for students in technical majors or in military programs requiring a calculus based introduction to physics; and technical, general, and special electives to meet the needs of students in certain majors, the honors program, and the professional programs including graduate courses for the MEd in STEM and physics pedagogy. In service to its faculty and student majors, the college, and the scientific community, a secondary mission is to provide conditions conducive to faculty research and scholarly development, faculty participation in scholarly societies and organizations, and an exposure to outside speakers through professional seminars. In service to the community and local school systems a tertiary mission is to provide Department sponsored events that popularize science and promote interest in the study of physics.
- Physics is the study of the fundamental laws of nature and how they explain the phenomena of the observable universe. The Department fulfills its primary mission, that of teaching, by helping its students develop critical reasoning skills. The students are shown how the same fundamental laws govern all physical phenomena and serve as the foundation of all branches of science and engineering. This requires that they not only understand the laws of physics, but also acquire sufficient empirical facts and laboratory experience to logically apply the scientific method to interpret empirical data.
Philosophically, the measures of success in teaching and learning are similar for all core physics lecture and laboratory courses. They include assessment of learning, critical thinking, and problem shoving skills. However, the criteria applied to the assessment of physics, other science, and engineering majors reflect that these students are expected to adopt the principles of physics as tools of their future profession.
Physics majors graduating with good grades should be adequately prepared for graduate study in physics or any closely related discipline. Applied physics minors with good grades should find that their physics experience augments their preparation for graduate studies or professional certification, or landing a special job. Aerospace science minors with good grades should find that their lecture and laboratory experience augments their preparation for flight school, graduate studies or professional certification, or landing a special job. The curriculum will be broad enough to prepare all physics majors for careers in fields such as education at the secondary level, research and industrial scientific laboratories, high-technology branches of the Armed Forces, and other careers that require analytical thinking with a mathematical and scientific background.
The College and University physics core courses introduce each student whether technical or liberal arts to the scientific method. Students learn to use mathematics to calculate and compare theoretical predictions with physics observations. Students achieving good grades should be prepared to take the physics portion of qualifying examinations such as the EIT and MCAT and LSAT.
- Secondary Mission
All Physics faculty should be active in scholarly development and keeping up in their discipline. Ideally they should be active in some research at least on a level that warrant reasonable competitiveness for CF research and/or development grants. Publication in respected journals is a continuing goal, although this may not be possible for all members at all periods of their career, especially in the area of experimental physics where lack of access to equipment is a serious problem. Sponsoring an undergraduate research project or student research participation during the college year and/or the summer is especially valued.
The Physics faculty should maintain membership in professional societies and share their knowledge with their colleagues.
- Tertiary Mission
The Department will share its expertise and aid student recruitment by sponsoring events useful to the local schools and area colleges and their instructors. As often as possible these activities will be conducted with the active participation of cadets.