Dot Physics

What makes a good physics program

This weekend I am off to a SPIN-UP (Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics) meeting. The basic idea is for physics departments to meet and discuss how they can be better. Note: if you don’t have a good acronym, you don’t get any funding. In preparation for this meeting, I was thinking – what is the one thing I think could make a difference.

Maybe the most important thing is to create a community of learners. The department should be a place where students can be students. It would be awesome if this included space (in whatever form possible) for studying, learning, experimenting, socializing.

What about one thing I think that we (as a department) should NOT do? I think we should not “trick” students into becoming physics majors. Oh look, physics is fun. You will be awesome, you should be a physics major. No, students should study physics because they think it is awesome and they want to do it, even though they know it is difficult.

PS – Note about the meeting: In the off-chance case that you also are going to this meeting, tell me the promotional code “dot physics up” and I will buy you a beer (or non-alcoholic beverage of your choice).