Physics Home at The University of West Georgia

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Mission/Vision Statement

Physics Department Information:

  1. Departmental Mission/Vision Statement Vision:
    • To provide a comprehensive undergraduate physics degree program.
    • To encourage faculty and student research.
    • To prepare students for their future educational and career challenges Mission.
    • The Physics department in its curriculum and its student centered research projects, endeavors to fulfill the immediate and future needs and interests of a variety of students.
    • The Department provides a full spectrum of courses coupled with mentoring and research opportunities are provided for physics and engineering students.
    • The Department provides courses that enhance their skills and their appreciation for science for non-physics majors.
  2. Departmental Statement of Goals, Process to Assess These Goals, and Assessment Results:
    • Goals:
      1. To expose non-physics majors to the basic principles of physics in service courses.
      2. To provide physics majors with a cohesive curriculum consistent with the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) guidelines: AAPT Guidelines
      3. To provide opportunities for students to collaborate with faculty on research.
      4. To recruit faculty to support the program in the areas of teaching and research in a collegial environment.
      5. To involve students and faculty in the broader physics community by internal and external colloquia and visits to nearby research facilities.
      6. To increase support for faculty and students to travel to professional conferences.
      7. To advise physics and engineering students on the major requirements and future graduate school or career opportunities.
    • Assessment Process
      1. Some students take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).
      2. Physics majors demonstrate their grasp of physics in the senior seminar (Phys 4984) and junior/senior level courses.
      3. Students involved in research demonstrate their understanding by their willingness and ability to give talks in Sigma Xi and Georgia Academy of Sciences.
      4. The students involved in research with faculty are closely monitored by the supervising faculty.
      5. Participation in activities such as colloquia and visits to outside research facilities is a sign of student involvement in physics.
      6. Surveys of graduates have been conducted in the past. A new survey instrument is being developed.
    • Results
      1. West Georgia applicants have a high acceptance rate into medical schools.
      2. Based on the teaching and attending faculty, physics majors have given acceptable presentations in the seminar course (Phys 4984). Students have also been successful in the advanced lab courses (Phys 3511, 3521.)
      3. In research, physics students often receive the best paper award at the annual meeting of the Georgia Academy of Sciences.
      4. The physics faculty, as a whole, does a very good job in teaching course material according to the university catalog description, based on observation, in class student evaluations, and other input.
      5. The physics faculty involves students in research yearly.
      6. Results of past surveys indicated a high level of satisfaction with the physics department and its faculty. Also students indicated a high level of satisfaction with departmental advising.
      7. Engineering students transferring to the engineering school indicate a 100% acceptance rate. Physics students who have applied to graduate school have similarly obtained acceptance.
      8. Physics faculty give many local, regional, and national research talks at conferences and have also published their work.
      9. The physics faculty obtains external funding.
      10. The physics faculty has had an active involvement in University and departmental committee work, collaborative projects with other physics faculty, and external collaboration.
  3. Departmental Statement of Curriculum Learning Outcomes, Processes to Assess These Outcomes, and Assessment Results for each Degree Program
    • Curriculum and Learning Outcomes
      1. Students in the calculus and non-calculus based introductory course should have a grasp of the basic principles: mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics, as well as laboratory skills.
      2. Students in upper level courses should be able to build on their knowledge from the introductory courses to solve problems with greater mathematical sophistication.
      3. In general course offerings, the students should develop an understanding of the basic physical concepts which govern the universe, as well as an ability to think critically and solve problems.
      4. Physics majors should demonstrate the ability to use standard lab equipment to make measurements and set up and carry out experiments
    • Processes to Assess these Outcomes
      1. Successful completion of upper level courses indicates the students' understanding of basic physics principles developed in the introductory courses.
      2. Success in graduate programs, physics related job fields, transferring to other universities, and MCAT, GACE, and GRE exams show an overall achievement towards the above outcomes
    • Assessment Results for each Degree Program
      1. Teaching The department of physics has the responsibility of teaching physics, to physics majors, pre-engineering, Regents Engineering Transfer Program (RETP), and dual degree students as well as providing service courses to other science majors and to non-science majors. The Department’s graduation rate is an average of 4.0 graduates per year. This has been slightly above the national average reported by the American Institute of Physics during this period. The West Georgia rate is currently higher than the rates at Valdosta State University and Georgia Southern University, which are comparable universities in the system. In addition, physics graduates have obtained entrance to prominent graduate institutions and have received degrees. The engineering students have also obtained successful acceptance to engineering schools such as Georgia Tech and Auburn University; they have done well at those institutions.
      2. Undergraduate Student Research Faculty guided research continues to be of importance in the physics program. The Department promotes undergraduate student research and the publication of results in the form of abstracts and student papers. Physics, over the years has demonstrated the involvement in undergraduate faculty guided student research. This is assessed by the number of undergraduate student research results papers or publications and awards for the best papers given at the annual Sigma Xi Competition and at the annual meeting of the Georgia Academy of Science.