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SPIN-UP logoSPIN-UP Regional Workshops

How to Enhance Your Undergraduate Physics Program

AAPT in cooperation with the APS and AIP and with support from the National Science Foundation invites teams from physics departments to attend regional workshops. The Goal of the SPIN-UP Regional Workshops is to enable physics departments in a wide variety of institutions to build the departmental infrastructure that will produce long-term improvements in undergraduate physics programs and to enhance both the number of students studying physics and the quality of student learning.

The Study

The SPIN-UP study conducted by the National Task Force on Undergraduate Physics identified several key features of thriving undergraduate physics programs:

  • A widespread attitude among the faculty that the department has the primary responsibility for maintaining or improving the undergraduate program. That is, rather than complain about the lack of students, money, space and administrative support, the department initiated reform efforts in areas that it identified as most in need of change.
  • A challenging, but supportive and encouraging undergraduate program that includes a well-developed curriculum, advising, mentoring, an undergraduate research participation program, and many opportunities for informal student-faculty interactions, enhanced by a strong sense of community among the students and faculty.
  • Strong and sustained leadership within the department and a clear sense of the mission of its undergraduate program and how the department’s mission supports the mission of the institution.A strong disposition towards continuous evaluation of and experimentation with the undergraduate program.
  • A coordinated and conscious effort to link various aspects of the undergraduate program so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

SPIN-UP Report— National Task Force on Undergraduate Physics report on project SPIN-UP (Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics).

About the Workshops

Each workshop invites teams of 2-4 faculty members including the chair and/or the associate chair for undergraduate education to work with an experienced group of physics faculty members, including representatives from departments that have recently seen large increases in the number of undergraduate majors, to analyze the current departmental situation and where they would like to be and how to implement to sustainable change that will enable them to accomplish their goals.

Participating departments will be committed to cover their travel and lodging expenses to demonstrate a commitment to making real change and will be asked to provide basic data on their departments.

For more information contact Ruth Howes at rhowes@bsu.edu, phone: (505) 955-0836


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