Why Physics at SC?

1. Award Winning Faculty - The faculty of the physics department has been recognized within the Southwestern College community as outstanding educators. Since 1991, the current members of the physics department's faculty have been selected to receive two Fassnacht Outstanding Faculty Awards from the College and two Faculty Citations from Southwestern's Student Government Association.

2. Student-Teacher Interaction - The Southwestern College physics department offers students a friendly atmosphere of extensive student-teacher interaction and small classes. Since the department is relatively small each physics student receives close personal attention and guidance. Teaching is strongly emphasized at Southwestern. In fact, it is the number one priority. As a result, physics students have daily access to faculty for individual assistance.

3. High Percentage of Physics Majors - The Southwestern College physics program has had between eight and twelve majors for the past several years and has graduated fourteen students from 1996 to 2001. Even though these numbers are unimpressive in an absolute sense, they are seen to be huge when compared to those from other institutions. For a comparison with several other Kansas schools, note the following table which lists the approximate undergraduate enrollments and the total number of physics graduates for a five year period at several Kansas schools:


School

Approximate Undergraduate Enrollment (2003)

Total Number of Physics Graduates 1996-2001

University of Kansas

20,000

87

Kansas State University

19,000

30

Wichita State University

11,000

4

Pittsburg State University

5,500

7

Southwestern College

600

14

4. More Women in Physics - The percentage of physics majors at Southwestern who are women has greatly exceeded the national average for the past several years. Nationally, 18% of physics graduates over the last three years have been women, a low percentage which is of continuing concern to the national physics community. Of the fourteen Southwestern physics majors who have graduated over a five year period (1996 -2001) six (43%) have been women. Additionally, two of the current (Fall 2005) three upper level physics majors are women. It is not clear why the percentage of physics majors who are women has been high, so there is no way to anticipate whether this trend will continue. However, these data indicate that the real or perceived barriers that women encounter in the study of physics at other institutions are minimal or simply do not exist at Southwestern College.

5. Preparation for Graduate School - Of the thirteen physics majors who have graduated from Southwestern over the last five years (2001 - 2005), most are either in graduate school or employed in education or technical industries. Five of these graduates are currently in graduate school pursuing a Ph.D. Two students graduated in May of 2005 with an engineering degree in our dual degree program with Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. One of these dual degree students is currently working on a masters in engineering.

Physics