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Strategic Plan

College/School/Department: _Science and Engineering/Physics_______

Academic Plan 2012-2017


I.              Introduction





State your department/school/college mission statement.



The mission of the Department of Physics at Texas State University is to provide to our students an exceptional science education to create the next generations of scientifically-trained citizen leaders, to push forward the frontiers of knowledge for the benefit of Texas, the nation and world, and to serve the broader community by developing its human talent and physical resources.


To fulfill this mission, the faculty, staff and students of the Physics Department share a number of deeply-held values:


¨      The development of an exceptional, broad-based scientific education for both our undergraduate and graduate students;

¨      Cross-pollination of the educational experience between the classroom and the research laboratory to strengthen both;

¨      The promotion of critical-thinking skills, the hallmark of a strong physics education, that are required in our increasingly complex world;

¨      Support of research and scholarly activities by our faculty, staff and students to create new knowledge and understanding of the physical world;

¨       The creation of a collegial environment for our researchers, working closely with students at all levels, to pose questions and seek answers about the natural world.

¨      A commitment by the Department, through its faculty, staff and students, to provide public service to the University and broader community to help foster a better life for our colleagues and neighbors




Outline briefly your “vision” for the 2012-2017 planning cycle.


The department of physics is comprised of faculty with diverse experience that can offer unique educational experiences at all levels.  By 2017, the department will have increased the number of undergraduate majors to 150, with 20 baccalaureate degrees awarded per year.  The department will be active in the preparation of future science teachers both at the primary and secondary level, and will be producing 4 new high school physics teachers per year by 2017.  The graduate program will have grown to approximately 30 students, with a corresponding increase in assistantships for incoming graduate students.  Research expenditures within the department will continue to grow, as will research commercialization efforts by the faculty.


Using University goals and initiatives as a guide, list and briefly describe your top five priorities for the 2012-2017 planning cycle and indicate the university initiative/goal to which the unit’s initiative is linked.



1.    Expand Learning Assistant program to include all three semesters of calculus-based introductory physics (1430/2425/2435) and both semesters of algebra-based physics (1315/1325).  Goals 2.1, 2.2, and 3.9.

2.    Work with College of Education to develop robust programs for preparation of K-12 science teachers, including development of paths to High School teacher certification in the undergraduate degree program, and modified science courses for pre-service elementary teachers.  Increase the number of baccalaureate students who pursue teaching as a profession.  Goals 2.1, 2.2, and 3.9

3.    Develop graduate program as follows:

·         Increase graduate enrollment in both degree programs

·         Investigate ways to distinguish the two degree programs (Physics and Materials Physics)

·         Including the possibility of making the Materials Physics degree a Professional Master’s degree.

·         Implement a weekly seminar series featuring both internal and external speakers.

  Goals 3.9 and 4.3

4.    Strengthen the undergraduate program as follows:

·         Increase number of undergraduate physics majors from its current level of 85 to 150 by 2017.

·         Engage undergraduate majors in the teaching and research missions of the department by providing them with opportunities and support to participate in both areas, which will provide students with pathways to pursue graduate education.

·         Providing more aggressive and accurate career counseling for Physics majors, including formation of an alumni advisory board, and development of advising strategies to direct students into research.

·         Provide financial support for undergraduate research.

·         Pursuing a more diverse student population by actively recruiting underrepresented groups.

·         Creating a more diverse curriculum that provides multiple elective emphases.

  Goals 2.1 and 2.2.

5.    Support the Universities continued Emerging Research status as follows:


·         The current faculty in the department will increase research expenditures by an average of 5% per year, resulting in a 25% increase between 2012 and 2017.

·         Addition of new faculty lines will add to the increase in the department’s research expenditures.

·         Establish research fellowships to support undergraduate research.

  Goals 1.6, 1.9, 2.1, 2.2












Based on unit goals, list the number of new (not replacement) faculty lines you plan to request in the 2012-2013 academic year and in the remaining 2-5 years.



1 new faculty line for 2012-2013, with an additional 4 lines in the remaining 2-5 years.  These requests are based on projected enrollment growth due to growth in engineering and other programs.














Based on unit initiatives outlined in your plan, estimate the total amount of new funding that your unit will realistically need in the 2012-2013 academic year and in the remaining 2-5 years.




We will need an additional $20,000 in salaries for undergraduate instructional assistants.  This will be needed to meet needs imposed by enrollment growth in lab sections, as well as support for the proposed Learning Assistant program.  We also request 3 new GIA positions at $11,000 each, as well as $25,000 for undergraduate research fellowships.  We are requesting $35,000 to fund a new admin position, and $45,000 to fund a new technical staff position.  In addition, we will need ~$300,000 in startup for the new faculty hire.

                                                                                             Total Funding 2012-2013  $458,000

Remaining 2-5 years:

We will continue the $20,000 increase initiated in year 1.  Also, as the Learning Assistant program grows to include more courses, we anticipate needing an additional $10,000 per year for the remaining four years of the plan.  We also request a continuation of the funding for undergraduate research fellowships at $25,000 per year, as well as the salaries for new GIA and staff positions.  Finally, we will need startup of ~$300,000 for each of the proposed faculty positions.

                                                                                           Total Funding years 2-5  $1,368,000







State the facilities (e.g. offices, research and lab space, classrooms) that will be required for anticipated growth and new initiatives.


The department needs additional first call large classrooms (100 seats).  We currently only have one large first call classroom, and we are teaching 15 sections per semester of 100 students each.  One additional large first call classroom would meet our needs for the planning period.  We are also planning on teaching more of our classes using interactive engagement methods.  This will require three classrooms that will accommodate 60 students which can be easily reconfigured to meet a variety of instructional needs.  The department is also in need of office space.  We are currently using all of the office space available to us, and do not have space available for new faculty or staff.  We will need 5 new faculty offices, as well as an additional 4 offices for post-docs and other staff.  Finally, we will need research space to accommodate new faculty.  We request 800 square feet of research space for each new faculty member hired.





II.            Process





Describe, in a brief paragraph, the process used to develop your plan, including the nature and extent of faculty involvement.



A draft plan was developed by the chair.  This draft was then presented to the faculty for comment, feedback, and revision.  The faculty went through as many revision cycles as were necessary to achieve consensus regarding the plan.







College/School/Department:  _______________________

Academic Plan 2012-2017



III.           Program Maintenance



Maintenance Need



Reason for Need






Result of Funding


4 new faculty lines

Meet needs imposed by enrollment growth in existing and proposed engineering programs as well as enrollment growth in other service courses.

$80,000 per line + fringe, $300,000 start-up per line

Add sections of PHYS1310/1320 (1 every two years), PHYS1315/1325 (1 every two years), PHYS1430/2425 (one per year)

3 new GIA positions

Increased enrollment in lab sections requires addition of lab sections.

$10200 per year per line.

Increase number of lab sections offered to meet enrollment needs.

1 new Admin II position

Increases administrative load due to increased enrollment and grant activity

$35000 per year

More effective departmental administration

1 new technical staff position

Increased need for technical assistance with research equipment

$45000 per year

More effective use and maintenance of departmental and shared research equipment.

Increased funding of undergraduate instructional assistants

Increased enrollment in lab sections requires addition of lab sections.

$15000 per year

Increase number of lab sections offered to meet enrollment needs.

Two new teaching labs in Supple Science

Increased enrollment in all lab sections

No cost

Continue to meet laboratory enrollment needs for majors as well as service courses.

New faculty offices

Growth in department


Physics department operations will continue to be centered in R. F. Mitte Building.

New faculty research space

Growth in department


Physics department operations will continue to be centered in R. F. Mitte Building.

College/School/Department:  _______________________

Academic Plan 2012-2017


IV.          Planning Categories



1 yr

2-5 years

New Resources Required


Source of Resources

Assessment Criteria

University Initiative

University Goal 1: Promote academic quality by building and supporting a distinguished faculty.





























Goal 2: Provide opportunities for a public university education and contribute to economic and cultural development.


Implement Learning Assistant Program across introductory classes



Funds for Learning Assistants



Number of students participating in Learning Assistant Program

2.1, 2.2


 Release time for faculty to develop teacher preparation courses


 Funds for per-course faculty



Number of new courses for pre-service teachers

2.1, 2.2


Undergraduate research fellowships



Funds for fellowships



Number of undergraduate students engaged in research

2.1, 2.2

Goal 3: Provide a premier student-centered, educational experience that fosters retention and success.


Release time for faculty participating in the Learning Assistant Program.



Funds for per-course faculty



Number of faculty using Learning Assistants




















Goal 4: Enrich our learning and working environment by attracting and supporting a more diverse faculty, staff, and student body.


Active recruiting of students from underrepresented groups






 Number of minority physics majors

 4.3, 4.4


Actively recruit faculty from underrepresented groups



Requested faculty lines



Number of minority faculty

4.1, 4.4










Goal 5: Develop and manage human, financial, physical and technological resources effectively, efficiently, and ethically to support the university's mission.


Increased administrative support



New admin position



Improved efficiency in department office



Increased technical support



New technician position



Improved maintenance and operation of research equipment