- In our 2007-2010 Program Review, our external reviewers stated:
We recommend that the Department try to offer (on an experimental basis) some type of GRE preperation course or study group (perhaps through the Society of Physics Students Club) in an upcoming fall semester to see if it helps the students improve their Physics Subject GRE test scores.
A new one-credit course, Advanced Physics Problem Solving, was taught during the Fall of 2009 and has now received Senate approval as Phys 342. The students who took this course were appreciative of the opportunity to prepare in a systematic way for the Physics Graduate Record Exam through programmed problem-solving activities.
- Recent Assessment results showed an odd result. Our 1st Means of Assessment for Outcome 3 requires graduates to rate their level of expertise on various pieces of scientific equipment. For several years a surprising number of students rated their expertise on Optical Spectrometers as lower than we expected. As we report in the 2009-10 report, increased attention to the equipment in Phys 226, the laboratory course where most of our students use this piece of equipment has seemed to improve the assessment results in this area.
- We continue to be disappointed in the results of the 1st Means of Assessment for Outcome 5. The percentage of women physics graduates lags the national results. In 2009 Kurt Fletcher formed a research team with faculty from Geological Sciences and the School of Education and obtained funding through the NSF- Math Science Partnership program to begin a research study to encourage more middle school girls to study physics and geology, fields in which the percentage of women students is low. While the focus of this study is on middle school, we anticipate that the increased attention to this issue will provide additional incentive for bright women to consider studying physics at Geneseo.
- For outcome 1, our embedded assessment of PHYS 344 (Statistical Thermodynamics) has included both conceptual questions and computational questions. However, the weekly assignments for this course (and most of our upper level courses) typically focus on computational work. We then should probably not have been surprised to see in our 2008 assessment that students did more poorly on the conceptual assessments than on the computational assessments. As a result, we have attempted to increase the amount of conceptual work that students perform in this class.