Mission and Outcomes

Mission of the Physics Department

The Physics Department is a learning community dedicated to:
providing undergraduate instruction in physics for physics majors and to prepare secondary pre-service teachers to meet state certification requirements;
providing two semesters of introductory college physics at two separate levels; algebra based instruction for students majoring in other fields (i.e. biology) and calculus based instruction for physics majors and others needing a more mathematically rigorous treatment;
challenging each person to acquire the knowledge and the conceptual and mathematical maturity needed to pursue careers in physics and other related fields;
stimulating habits of careful reading and listening, clear speaking and writing, critical analysis and creative synthesis, individual thought and collaborative action.

Student Outcomes

Broad Knowledge of Physics
To master key concepts and methods of mechanics, heat, electricity and magnetism, optics and waves, and quantum physics. To be aware of historically important experiments and phenomena in these fields.

Problem Solving Skills
To use the key concepts and methods in physics in fairly sophisticated ways beyond that normally found at the introductory college level, to solve both theoretical and experimental problems in physics.

Laboratory Skills
To be able to choose the appropriate measuring techniques in the laboratory, get equipment to work, and assure proper calibration of equipment. To have an understanding of basic laboratory methods, be able to measure, record, and analyze the behavior of natural systems to extract the desired information and to infer explanations of the behavior.

Computer Skills
To use computers for data acquisition, data analysis, and presentation of results. To use computers to write term papers.

Critical Thinking
To connect concepts and representations (such as graphs, diagrams, and equations) to objects in the real world; to make quantitative models of real-world processes, and to deduce reasonable numerical estimates for quantities from the information at hand.

Scientific Reasoning
To appreciate that progress in physics depends on disciplined search and discovery, false starts, inspired guesses, accidents, controversy, and available technology. To appreciate that the theories and models of physics fit within a well-defined framework, after they have been tested against a large body of experimental results.

Communication Skills
To express the ideas and concepts of physics in writing and in oral presentations.

Career Preparation
To pursue appropriate courses of action following graduation including employment and graduate or professional training.

Mathematical Skills
To obtain the mathematical proficiency needed to express the concepts and theories of physics. To solve problems in physics.