Jun 13 – 19, 2015
University of Alberta
America/Edmonton timezone
Welcome to the 2015 CAP Congress! / Bienvenue au congrès de l'ACP 2015!

Learning from our neighbours about “Building a Thriving Undergraduate Physics Program”

Jun 17, 2015, 8:45 AM
CCIS L1-160 (University of Alberta)

CCIS L1-160

University of Alberta

Oral (Non-Student) / orale (non-étudiant) Physics Education / Enseignement de la physique (DPE-DEP) W1-8 Strengthening Physics Departments (DPE) / Renforcer les départements de physique (DEP)


Daria Ahrensmeier (Simon Fraser University)


Many Physics Departments in Canada and around the world face similar challenges: low enrollment numbers for physics majors, long graduation times, retention problems, and the desire – or pressure – to improve the student experience. In February 2015, a team from the Physics Department at SFU attended the “Building a Thriving Undergraduate Physics Program” workshop organized by the APS and AAPT in Seattle. We found these two days so useful and inspiring that we want to share some of what we learned with our Canadian colleagues. In this talk, we will show some highlights from the presentations about departments that reinvented themselves and now thrive, as well as features that strong programs appear to have in common. Next, we will summarize our approach towards building a strategy for our own department. This presentation will be guided by the thoughtful workshop design of Rob Hilborn and Renee Royal and will be shared with their permission. We will conclude by adding data and examples relevant to the situation in Canada.

Primary authors

Barbara Frisken (Simon Fraser University) Daria Ahrensmeier (Simon Fraser University) Jeffrey McGuirk (Simon Fraser University) Sarah Johnson (Simon Fraser University)

Presentation materials

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