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Dean Mary Ann Rankin of the College of Natural Sciences has filed with the secretary of the Faculty Council the following changes to the Bachelor of Science in Physics in the College of Natural Sciences chapter in the Undergraduate Catalog, 2010-2012. The faculty of the college approved the changes on April 24, 2009, and the dean approved the proposed changes on October 5, 2009. The secretary has classified this proposal as legislation of general interest to more than one college or school.

The Committee on Undergraduate Degree Program Review recommended approval of the change on November 23, 2009, and forwarded the proposed changes to the Office of the General Faculty. The Faculty Council has the authority to approve this legislation on behalf of the General Faculty. The authority to grant final approval on this legislation resides with the executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

If no objection is filed with the Office of the General Faculty by the date specified below, the legislation will be held to have been approved by the Faculty Council. If an objection is filed within the prescribed period, the legislation will be presented to the Faculty Council at its next meeting. The objection, with reasons, must be signed by a member of the Faculty Council.

To be counted, a protest must be received in the Office of the General Faculty by December 14, 2009.

Greninger Signature

Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty and the Faculty Council

Distributed through the Faculty Council web site on December 9, 2009.


NAME OF DEGREE PROGRAM(S): Bachelor of Science in Physics

There are four college-wide changes being made to the prescribed work and special requirements for this degree: (1) A statement that students must satisfy the University-wide core curriculum requirements has been added and redundant line requirements have been stricken; (2) Honors course options are listed as satisfying the introductory chemistry requirement in the degree; (3) The foreign language requirements have been modified to reflect the change in the foreign language curriculum in the College of Liberal Arts; (4) The GPA requirement statement has been modified to reflect the change to +/- grading.

There are also option-specific changes to degree requirements:
All Options:
The list of physics courses that satisfy the major has been updated to by removing PHY 453 and adding PHY 355 and PHY 353L. A chemistry lab requirement (CH 204 or 317) has been removed from Options I-IV.

Option II: Computation
The list of mathematics and computation courses that satisfy the major has been updated to align the curriculum with the college’s Certificate in Scientific Computation as opposed to the Elements in Computing program. The requirements and elective course lists have been revised to specify courses in programming, numerical methods, statistical methods, and applied computational topics.

Option III: Radiation Physics
The list for courses that will satisfy the upper-division coursework in mechanical engineering has been updated.

Option V: Teaching
Mathematics, physical science, and engineering is a new area of state-level teacher certification. The degree has been updated to reflect this new certification area. Students may now complete a specified list of courses to qualify for this certification area.

Option VI: Physics Honors
The breadth requirement was revised to ensure that students would satisfy the University core requirements in Natural Sciences I and II, and the introductory physics requirement was removed from the breadth area and given its own line. The total hours of approved elective coursework was reduced from twenty to ten to correct for a mathematical inaccuracy in the 08-10 catalog. Two statements have been added in special requirements to clarify that students must be in good standing in the Dean’s Scholars program to graduate under Option VI, and that AP credit may not be used to satisfy the breadth requirement in the degree.

Indicate pages in the undergraduate catalog where changes will be made. pages 532-535

College-Wide Changes:
(1) Core Curriculum:
The college is adopting the University-wide common core for its B.S. degrees for the 2010-12 catalog. Our degree plans are being updated to reflect this change.
(2) Honors Course Options:
For the past two years, qualified natural sciences students have had the option to complete an honors biology sequence (BIO 315H and BIO 325) and an honors chemistry sequence (CH 301H and CH 302H) to satisfy their introductory biology and chemistry course requirements. The degree plans in the college are being updated to reflect this option.
(3) Calculus:
The college has created a two-semester calculus sequence for science majors (M 408N and M 408S) that will emphasize the science-related applications of calculus. The curriculum in this two-semester sequence will be collaboratively informed by the mathematics faculty and the science faculty and is expected to better prepare science students to be successful as they progress through their calculus-based science and laboratory course work. Data in the college has shown that students who progress as a cohort through their required coursework tend to be more successful. Given the low success rates of natural sciences students in M 408K and M 408L, it is expected that these new courses will decrease the repeat-rate of science students taking first and second semester calculus, thereby reducing the impact on the college’s instructional budget as well. Natural Sciences students will continue to have the option of completing the traditional two-semester sequence for calculus-ready students, M 408C and M 408D. The majority of students are expected to complete the M 408N and M 408S sequence.
(4) GPA Requirements:
The college’s adoption of C- as the minimum grade required for course credit raises the possibility that students may satisfy all degree requirements with grades of C- but simultaneously fall short of the minimum 2.0 GPA required in the major. Therefore, the college is implementing a common GPA statement for all degrees in the college to clarify that students must have a grade of at least C-, and a grade point average of at least 2.0 in the math and science courses required in the degree.

Option-Specific Changes:
All Options
The list of physics courses required for the major has been modified to reflect the discontinuation for PHY 453 and its replacement in the degree plans with PHY 355 and PHY 353L. The required hours of upper-division physics is being increased by two, which will not change the overall hours required for the degree. This change was a direct response to the recommendations of an undergraduate curriculum review committee in physics formed by the department chair, John Markert, that found that students were lacking in their exposure to the basic ideas of modern physics and thermodynamics. To expose physics majors in all options to these concepts, PHY 355 (Modern Physics) will be required as a common requirement for all physics options. PHY 355 has long provided an introduction to modern physics for engineers and will now provide the same service for physics majors as well. The department has also created a new laboratory course (PHY 353L) to explore these concepts of modern physics and thermodynamics in more depth. This course will also be required for all majors. The recommending committee consisted of Professors Michael Marder, Duane Dicus, Peter Antoniewicz, Sacha Kopp, Austin Gleeson, and Roger Bengtson (Chair), with additional advice from Professor Emeritus Mel Oakes, undergraduate coordinator Pat Morgan, and student adviser Susan Brown.
To maintain the same number of hours in the degree plan, the chemistry lab requirement has been removed from Options I through IV. This course was selected because physics students have a sufficient number of lab credits through their physics coursework and, in the case of this particular lab course, the shortage of seats frequently means that physics majors cannot enroll until their senior year. Physics students will continue to complete a full year of chemistry lecture courses, which is considered sufficient for content delivery.

Option II: Computation
When the computation degree options were originally created in the college, the only computation courses available to students who were not computer science majors were courses in the Elements of Computing program. Over the past two years, the curriculum for the Elements of Computing certificate has changed substantially and is no longer viewed as being appropriate for students who are seeking to develop substantial skills in the area of computational science. Students who are interested in computational science are now being directed to the Division of Statistics and Scientific Computing which has increased available course offerings in this area and, through a campus-wide collaboration of faculty from several schools and colleges, developed an undergraduate Certificate in Scientific Computing. Departments with computational degree options have opted to revise their computational degrees to align them with the new curriculum. The computational degrees will now require that students complete a set of courses that is more academically appropriate and closely aligned with the Certificate in Scientific Computing. This change will improve the intellectual value of the degree and, at the same time, allow students the opportunity to complete the certificate should they choose to complete the additional independent research requirement.

Option III: Radiation Physics
The list of mechanical engineering courses that will satisfy the upper-division course requirement has been updated to reflect new courses and to remove courses that are no longer available.

Option V: Teaching
The addition of the certification option for mathematics, physical science, and engineering will allow students to qualify for the new state certification area and expand their opportunities for obtaining positions in secondary teaching in science and mathematics. These changes result from growth of the partnership the UTeach-Natural Sciences program and the College of Engineering in response to the need for more high school physics teachers.

Option VI: Physics Honors
The changes proposed in this degree are reflective of the changes being made across all honors degree plans in the college. 1) The breadth and thesis requirements in the honors degrees have been revised where necessary to either clarify eligible courses, add “hidden” lab requirements, or ensure that students would select course combinations that would satisfy the university core requirements for Natural Sciences I and II. 2) The degree plans now specifically state that AP credit cannot be used to satisfy the breadth requirement because the intention of the degrees is to provide students with an honor-level course in these areas. The physics requirement for the honors degrees in Astronomy and Physics was moved to its own line item to recognize the fact that most of the honors students in these degrees arrive on campus ready to begin in second-semester physics with AP credit for PHY 301. 3) The hours of additional approved electives were modified where necessary to accurately reflect the number of elective hours that students had available. It was discovered that there were mathematical inaccuracies in the 08-10 catalog and these are being fixed. 4) It was deemed necessary by the faculty to clarify that students must be in good standing in the Dean’s Scholars program to obtain the honors option of a degree. This was an implied requirement that was never officially stated in the catalog. It is now being added.

Does this proposal impact other colleges/schools? If yes, then how? No.

Has the other college(s)/school(s) been informed of the proposed change? If so, please indicate their response. N/A.

Will this proposal change the number of required hours for degree completion? If yes, please explain. It will change the number of hours for the teaching option from 120 to 126. To accommodate the certification requirements in the teaching option, the total degree hours have been increased to 126. This was overlooked for this degree in the 08-10 catalog, but has now been corrected. All teaching options in the college are 126 hour degrees.

Does this proposal involve changes to the core curriculum (42-hour core, signature courses, flags)? If yes, please explain. No.

Department Approval Date: October 22, 2009
College Approval Date: April 24, 2009
Dean Approval Date: October 5, 2009

To view the edited version of the catalog changes click the PDF link at the beginning of this document.