Poster Abstracts

1.    Chicago State Physics: Successes, Challenges and Stories of Perseverance

Mel Sabella and Austin Harton, Chicago State University


CSU is located in Chicago and serves a predominantly African American student population.    Our program has focused much of its efforts on improving its courses, through grants from the NSF, and has developed strong teacher professional development and outreach programs through grants from the APS and the Illinois Board of Higher Education.  Almost all of our physics majors are involved in research with some of our students going as far away as Switzerland to participate in research at CERN.  We find that many of our students face extreme challenges in the pursuit of their degrees.  In this poster we share our programs successes and challenges and some personal stories from some of our majors on how they have persevered in the pursuit of their degrees.   We hope to start a discussion on the specific recruitment and support structures that maybe successful in generating academic and professional success in students attending schools similar to ours.


2.     Leveraging Change at Florida International University

Laird Kramer, Florida International University


Florida International University (FIU) has transformed its undergraduate physics program over the past 11 years through a strategic series of leveraged activities that has resulted in a significant increase in the number of majors and graduates. The activities targeted introductory course transformations, revision of the undergraduate degree programs, expansion of student advising and advocacy, and engagement of local high school. The poster will include an overview of the strategies and approaches utilized at FIU as well as the vision for sustaining the culture of change.


3.     One Physics Department's Response to Elimination

Tim Kidd, University of Northern Iowa


In late February, the president and provost of the University of Northern Iowa decided to eliminate all non-teaching physics majors as part of a wide scale culling. In all over 80 majors and minors were targeted for elimination, with the only stated criteria being that such majors graduated less than 10 students per year. Here, we present the methods we used to contest this decision, which included appeals to lawmakers, administration, alumni, students and the public. By responding very quickly, administration was convinced that cutting physics would have wider ramifications on the overall quality of science and science education programs at UNI. Thus, the department (and the jobs of four faculty) were saved from elimination and had the Physics BS and minor reinstated. We also present some actions currently undertaken to increase enrollment and attract more students to attend UNI as physics majors.


4.     The Physics Program at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU)

Paulo Acioli, Northeastern Illinois University


NEIU is a comprehensive public state institution serving over 10,000 commuter students and is designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).  The Department of Physics and Astronomy at NEIU consists of 4 tenured faculty, 5 instructors. The number of physics majors has almost doubled between 2006 and 2011. The number of Student Credit Hours has increased by 16% in the same period. The majority of the SCH production is in service courses such as the introductory astronomy and the algebra based physics sequence. In order to serve our nontraditional student population the upper-level courses are all offered in the evening. Although there have been positive changes, the physics program is one of the smallest at NEIU in terms of the number of majors and we are looking for strategies to grow. Among the strategies we are considering a more aggressive recruitment in the local community colleges, to establish a pre-engineering program, and to establish a teaching certification program.


5.     Efforts at Towson University to Build an Active Physics Program

David Schaefer, Towson University


Over the past 5-10 years, the physics program at Towson University has grown both quantiatively and qualitatively. This poster presents special efforts employed to develop an active and rich physic environment which services our students, the university, and the local community.


6.     The Undergraduate Physics Program at Florida State University

Susan Blessing, Florida State University


Over the past few years, the FSU Physics Department has had a significant increase in the number of majors because of three new degree programs:  Physics and Astrophysics, Physical Science, and Physical Science/FSU-Teach.  We have also made improvements to "take better care" of our students.  Our poster describes these changes and their effects.


7.     Physics Department Growth and Challenges at Colorado School of Mines

Todd Ruskell, Colorado School of Mines


The Colorado School of Mines undergraduate physics program has experienced tremendous growth in the last decade.  We are now the fifth largest degree-granting program in the country, despite being part of a school with a total undergraduate population of only 3,800 students.  We will discuss some of the actions we have taken to stimulate and support this growth, as well as the challenges we face in sustaining an undergraduate program of this size.


8.     Rowan University Physics: Facts and Figures

Eddie Guerra, Rowan University 


The Department of Physics & Astronomy at Rowan University has a growing set of major programs, and at the same time services the needs of students from the humanities and fine arts to engineering and business.  Here we present some facts and figures to create a snapshot of the department.  Some unique features of our department and Rowan University will be highlighted, including the creation of the Cooper Medical School at Rowan University.


9.     Sacramento State Physics and Astronomy

William DeGraffenreid, Sacramento State University


The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Sacramento State is a bachelors-only program that houses approximately 75 majors in addition to a significant service load. We pride ourselves on our high quality programs that offer numerous laboratory courses and unique certificate programs. We are facing a significant challenge with a rapid increase in the number of majors occurring at the same time we are seeing a dramatic decrease in the number of permanent faculty members.


10.  Marketing Your Undergraduate Physics Department on Campus and the Wider Community

James Garner, University of North Florida


The Department of Physics at the University of North Florida has recently initiated a number of new programs to help strengthen the quality and quantity of our physics majors. We summarize some of these new thrusts with the hope that this might give ideas to other departments who seek to invigorate their department. For example, we developed physics internship, exchange and teaching apprenticeship programs as a means of making physics more relevant to the local and international community and to better recruit high quality physics majors to our department.


11.  Physics at UCA

Carl Frederickson, University of Central Arkansas

The Physics program is growing at UCA primarily due to a consorted effort to recruit students from other STEM disciplines and in local high schools.


12.  Overview of the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Howard University

Prabhakar Misra, Belay Demoz, Anand Batra, Howard University


The poster will present an overview of the programs and innovations currently underway to increase student enrollment and retention in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Howard University in Washington, DC.


13.  Technology Presence to Improve Enrollment

Steven Daniels, Eastern Illinois University


There are many factors that help students to decide on their college and their area of study.  The decision to go into science is usually made before high school starts.  However, the decision on which college to attend is often not made until very late in the high school career.  Science minded high school students spend considerable time on their computers.  With that in mind in 2010 we updated our web presence and aimed at that cohort.  In this poster we will discuss the directions taken and the data produced.  Future directions will also be considered.


14.  A successful applied physics program at the UPR-H

Rafael Muller, UPR- Humacao


We describe the innovative ideas that have been incorporated into the applied physics program at the
Humacao Campus of the University of Puerto Rico. The program was designed as a professional (terminal) one with mechanisms to guide students who wished to pursue graduate studies.
Dwindling student registration in the program led to an aggressive recruitment/retention plan in the early 1990s. We describe our highly successful efforts and their results, including an increase in the
number of majors, and a graduation rate of 8.5 students/year for the past ten years.


15.  Physics Program at University of Houston Clear Lake 

Samina Masood, University of Houston Clear Lake


We discuss the Physics Program at the University of Houston Clear Lake. It is a new program. We highlight the important features of the Physics program in this non-traditional campus.


16.  A Decade of Physics at Marquette University

Benjamin Brown, Marquette University


A little over a decade ago at Marquette University, the major was cancelled. The number of majors was down to three. Half the faculty immediately found new jobs elsewhere, forcing a reinstitution of the major to attract new faculty. Thus began a slow recovery in the physics major. A steady increase of the annual count of majors, number of papers published, and research dollars attracted to the department for the last decade are shown in graphs. A revision of the first year introductory course introducing Tom Moore's Six Ideas that Shaped Physics text books, plus new sophomore math methods and computation based Modern Physics I and II courses, seem to be attracting and developing high quality students. The number of majors is up to 40 at present.