From Near Extinction to Academic Excellence: The UW-La Crosse Physics Program Documents

Main Document

University of Wisconsin - La Crosse: A Case Study 

written by Gubbi Sudhakaran

A Physics Department that was on the brink of extinction has been successfully resuscitated into a nationally recognized program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. The revitalization efforts included sweeping curricular reforms, aggressive recruitment and retention of students and faculty. The reforms include the introduction of new academic programs for the majors, new courses for non-majors, a Dual-Degree program in Physics and Engineering, and opportunities for undergraduate research. The success of the program in recruiting, retention, and career placement can be attributed to a combination of aggressive advising and flexible options designed to meet the needs and career goals of each student. The retention rate in the program is high due to one-on-one advising, involving students in undergraduate research at an early stage, and a very vibrant student society. The department uses several recruitment techniques which include contacting high school seniors in the region and outreach activities to attract students to the program. In order to sustain and enhance the quality of the program, the department has implemented comprehensive assessment of its programmatic goals on a regular basis. Due to these initiatives, the department has maintained its growth over the years and currently has 150 majors, and graduated 27 majors this academic year.

Last Modified June 14, 2012