Eliminating Physics Programs at UNI is a Mistake! Here are the facts.

Does Physics graduate too few  students, B.S. majors in particular?
  • 94% of Physics programs in the U.S. graduate less than ten undergraduate students per year. These "small" departments produce 71% of all physics undergraduate degrees. American Physics Society Statistics
  • 58% of  Physics programs in the U.S. graduate less than five undergraduate students per year.
  • The UNI Physics department graduates between 5-10 B.S. and B.A. students total per year, putting it well in the upper half of all U.S. departments. More than 80% of UNI physics students opt for a B.S. degree rather than a B.A. because the B.S makes students most competitive in the job market as well as in getting admitted to quality physics and engineering graduate schools.
  • UNI identifies several universities as peer institutions to compare themselves against. All of these programs have similar-sized physics departments. NONE lack a viable undergraduate physics B.S. major. Many do not even offer the less-intensive B.A. degree.
  • From UNI's mission statement: "The University of Northern Iowa at Cedar Falls is recognized as having a mission of sufficient scope to enable it to be a distinguished arts and sciences university." You can not be "distinguished" when you lack the basic degree programs of peer institutions.
  • Physics faculty have independently started a program to recruit international students, with two already pledged for next year. The B.A. degree in physics will not be attractive to these students and they will not enroll at UNI.
  • The university minimum enrollment for undergraduate courses is ten, the minimum for graduate courses is five. Because the various majors (B.S. Physics, B.S. Applied Physics and B.A. Physics Teaching ) overlap and the existence of minors and other science / science education students, even upper level Physics courses rarely dip below the minimum numbers mandated by the university. However, it will not be possible to reach minimum numbers if B.S. programs are eliminated.
  • Over 90% of our Physics undergraduates are enrolled in the B.S. programs. It is also the most sought after degree by technical employers and/or graduate schools. The B.S. degree is critical to maintaining the viability of the department in the long term.
  • Based on National Standards, UNI Physics is actually well above average in graduation rates for physics majors. However, this will no longer be the case without B.S. programs. 
Could cutting Physics B.S. programs save the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa taxpayer money?
  • Total Physics departmental expenses were less than $1.3 million in 2010. UNI budget circa 2010. See page 297
  • Cutting Physics programs would cost the university more than $1.5 million dollars in private donations. 
  • Physics professors have brought in more than $4.5 million dollars in external funding through grants for research and education since 2006.
  • Physics professors have secured over $100,000 in external funds this year, with pending grants of more than $3 million dollars
  • The majority of students (several hundred per semester) taught by physics faculty are biology, chemistry, and various science education majors. This drastically reduces the cost per student for actual physics majors, which typically number between 50-100. 
  • The physics department has several million dollars worth of equipment, all heavily used in research and education. Without a viable department, this equipment becomes essentially worthless and would be sold off for pennies on the dollar.
  • The B.S. degree sets a minimum standard in terms for the number of courses offered to physics students. A watered-down B.A. degree will leave UNI too weak to compete with other physics programs for the best students and  dramatically weakens our ability to obtain external funding. 
  • Where are the savings???? Cutting physics B.S. degrees could actually COST UNI and WOULD waste taxpayer dollars!!! 
Is the UNI Physics department central to education mandates as defined by UNI administration and the state of Iowa?
  • Provost Gibson hosts Physics Professor Paul Shand to support science education and UNI recruitment efforts just 3 weeks ago
    • Youtube video: Provost Gibson and Dr. Shand encouraging women and minorities to study physics at UNI.   
  • Lt. Gov. Reynolds: Students better prepared in STEM stand to energize Iowa’s workforce. Just as important, scientific, technology and mathematical literacy are critical to being good citizens in the increasingly complex 21st century.”  
    • Physics is by any standard a cornerstone of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education. Without Physics, "STEM" becomes "M"
  • Iowa's commitment to improving STEM education includes an investment of the 2012 legislature to financially support scaling up exemplary STEM projects throughout Iowa that have demonstrated a positive impact on student interest and achievement.  UNI Physics Department professional development and outreach programs for inservice high school physics teachers and high school physics students are examples of existing projects that would allow UNI to position itself to play a lead role in Governor Branstad's STEM Advisory Council initiatives. 
  • Joel Haack, Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences at UNI: "There's no question in my mind that UNI offers the best quality undergraduate physics major in the state."
  • Iowa Board of Regents Strategic Plan: Increase number of non-traditional and distance learners. 
    • UNI Physics has initiated four online based courses necessary for science and/or science education majors as well as initiated collaboration with providing Iowa high school students at-a-distance college-credit earning coursework
  • UNI administration has rewarded UNI physics achievements by funding two to three adjunct faculty per year and fully staffing all possible tenure-track lines. This includes hiring a new tenure - track professor just last year. Furthermore, she is one of only six female physics professors in the three  regents institutions! Eliminating B.S. programs represents a 180 degree reversal by UNI administrators in less than 12 months time.
  • UNI Physics has succeeded in every measurable metric. Why suddenly change course and cut Physics B.S. programs now????
Does UNI Physics offer a high quality B.S. program?
  • There have been 5 UNI Presidential Scholars in the UNI Physics B.S. program since 2008! (This includes one student accepted for next year helping our cause RIGHT NOW!)  Nearly 5% of all presidential scholars, the university's most prestigious scholarship,  are UNI Physics B.S. majors.
  • The national Society of Physics Students has named UNI an "outstanding chapter" several times, latest in 2011
  • Physics faculty have received several university level awards in recent years
    • Regents Award of Faculty Excellence, 2011 (Dr. Mike Roth)
    • University Book and Supply Outstanding Teaching Award (Jeff Morgan (2011))
    • Class of 1943 Teaching Award, 2010 (Dr. Mike Roth) and 2006 (Dr. Paul Shand)
    • Ross A. Nielson Professional Service Award, 2010 (Dr. Larry Escalada)
  • On average, Physics faculty each  mentor two - three students per year. These students perform research, receive advanced hands-on training in their field, and are highly sought after by employers or graduate programs. 
  • Physics students receive some of the highest salaries of any major at UNI after graduation. However, this is only the case for B.S. majors who are well-prepared for technical work. B.A. majors command smaller salaries.
  • Since 2006, three UNI physics students have been chosen to present their research to members of congress in Washington, DC.
  • The UNI Physics department hosts two statewide high school physics competitions each year as well as the world's only mail-in robotics competition which includes robots built by high school students. 
  • UNI Physics faculty lead the way in reforming and improving K-12 physics teaching and are integral to the state's STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology, and Mathematics) initiatives
  • Physics faculty published over ten scientific papers just last year. Three were published in Physical Review Letters, the most prestigious physics journal in the world. Just before arriving at UNI, our newest faculty hire published a paper in Science, arguably the most prestigious scientific journal in the world.
  • UNI Physics sets the standard for quality in Service, Education, Outreach and Research. Nearly all students featured here are B.S. majors. This quality can not be maintained without B.S. programs.

Have UNI administrators consulted the appropriate academic bodies to review the proposals to eliminate physics and other science programs at UNI?

  • No! Please see the strong condemnation letter from the UNI Faculty Senate, dated March 6, 2012.
  • No Physics Faculty have been consulted on these cuts in any way shape or form outside of the UNI Faculty Senate

Sincerely, 
Supporters and Faculty of the University of Northern Iowa Physics Department


Supporter List
If you would like to show support by having you name included in the list below - just contact me at tim.kidd@uni.edu

Physics Faculty
Dr. Timothy E. Kidd, Associate Professor of Physics at UNI
Dr. John J. Deisz, Associate Professor of Physics at UNI
Dr. Paul. M. Shand, Professor of Physics at UNI
Dr. Dale Olson, Professor of Physics at UNI
Dr. Michael Roth, Professor of Physics at UNI
Dr. Lawrence Escalada, Professor of Physics at UNI
Dr. Andrew Stollenwerk, Assistant Professor of Physics at UNI
Dr. Jeffrey MorganAssistant Professor of Physics at UNI
Dr. Rui HeAssistant Professor of Physics at UNI

UNI Administration
Dr. C. Clifton Chancey, Department Head and Professor of Physics at UNI

Additional Supporters
Rachel Braunigan
Amber Zingler, UNI Student
Mary Lou Hood
Laura Sether, UNI Student
Megan Yasuda, UNI Physics Technician
Takeshi Yasuda, Adjunct Physics Faculty, UNI
Erik Wolter, UNI Student
Ben Beck, UNI Student
Jeffrey Wallace, UNI Student
Ben Hood
Brad Friend, UNI Student
Mark C. Donahue Jr
Renee Craig Graves
Laurel Shaw
Donnie Anderson
Max Giles
Jennifer Stollenwerk
Tim Lappin
Amanda Stump
Jack Dostal, UNI Alum
Chris Roberts
Troy Errthum, UNI Alumnus
Ann Marie, UNI Student
Jennifer Meyer
Byron Tasseff, UNI Student
Eddie Muldanado, UNI Student & Alumnus
Vicky Moliter
Amy Skjordal, UNI Student
Ray Joseph Werner
Michelle Rogers Visokey
Tara Schneider
Theresa Dethlefs
Patrick Whitely
Meghan Reynolds, UNI Student
Robert G. Spulak, Sandia National Laboratory
Andrea Conley, UNI Alumnus
Zach Griffith, UNI Physics B.S. Major and Presidential Scholar
Nathan Smith, UNI Alumnus
Julia Bullard, UNI Music Faculty
Kevin Wilson
Sarah Dieken, UNI Student
Martie Heath-Sinclair
Mitchell Strauss
Caree Kaufman
Benjamin Hale, UNI Alumnus
Sonia Yoshizawa
Dr. Steve Feller, BD Silliman Professor of Physics at Coe College
Randy M. Dumse, UNI Alum, Donor, and President of New Micros, Inc.
Daniel Claes, UNI Alumnus, Professor & Chair of the Department of Physics, University of Nebraska
Ryan Sanger, UNI Alumnus
Dr. Dan Glascock, UNI Alumnus
Stacy Glascock, UNI Alumnus
Tom Reynolds
Kathy Reynolds
Doris Holmes
Emily Weidman
Mark Kaufman
Daniel Bender, UNI Alumnus
Tara Pickering
Marc Duske
Tracy Hickson
Ann Kinkley Stollenwerk
Rhiannon Vice
Michelle Rottinghaus
Kathleen Scholl, UNI Faculty
Jeff Booth
Corbyn Mellinger
Matt Kinkley
Rowena Tan
Brad Noethe, UNI Student
Leslie Bean
Stefanie Friedman Rose
Mark Schranz
Lani Ord
Pat Stollenwerk
Benj Hellie
Sarah Pearce, UNI Student
Allison Reynolds
John Wozniak, retired High School Science Teacher
Matthew Alban Boucher, UNI Alumnus
Steven Danielsen, UNI Student
Roger Hanson, UNI Physics Professor, Emeritus
Dr. Gerald Intemann, past UNI Physics Professor, Chair, Dean, UNI Donor, Provost of Indiana Univ.
Lisa Roberts
Jean Hitchman
Dru Simonson
Jordan Lea Ludwig
Chris Wheels, UNI Student
Terra Dusold
Jianwei Zhang, Professor of Physics, Tongji University, Shanghai, China
Dr. Teresa M. Finken, Governor’s STEM Advisory Council
John & Pat Higby
Marc Benedict, High School Science Teacher
Dr. Muhammad Spocter, Assistant Professor of Anatomy, Des Moines University
Tim Sheeley, UNI Alum and current graduate student
Jenah Harris-Jones, SEMATECH Engineer
Dr. Eric Martell, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Millikin University
James Arns, UNI Alum, Senior Systems Engineer at Kaiser Optical Systems, Inc. A Rockwell Collins Co.
Matt Stroh, UNI Alum
Dr. Carlos Wexler, Associate Professor of Physics, University of Missouri
Matt Karl, UNI Alum and graduate student
Brett VanDeventer, UNI Alum
Rebecca Adams
Anne Harding, UNI Alum
Sam Flynn, Wake Forest Physics Undergraduate
Mark Shields
Angie Leal
Don Osterhaus, UNI Alum
Jeremy Hulshizer, Physics Training Researcher, UNI
Randy Benedict, Ph'd Chemistry
Jane Paul
Gretchen Harris Suiter
Kristina Dieken
Chris Boom
Jennifer Horn-Frasier
Elizabeth Harding Bosworth, UNi Alum
Eric Grabe
Matt Harding, Physics Teacher at Iowa City West High School, UNi ALum
Izaak Runkel Sunleaf, Carleton College Student
Dan Cox
Jodi Weber, High School Science Teacher at Center Point-Urbana High School
Ann Fienup
Zeru Peterson
Adam Klein 
J.P. Sullivan 
 Ryan Jepson
Charlie Wehrmacher, UNI ALum
Sue Rogers Liautaud, UNi Alum
Kelly Gregory Morgan
Eric Shields
Ashleigh Flint Magrin
Matthew Bidne
Sara Seavey , UNi ALum
Toshia Zessin
Paige C. Thomas Miller
Andrew Morrison
Matt Farley, UNI ALum
Jake Porter
Jan Gallagher
Gina Whipple
Monique Ewan
Malika Jeffries-EL
Nancy Seavey
Nathan Whipple
Celia Magee Simmer
Alex Schlader, UNI Student
Adam Wilson, UNI Student
Randy Jones
Carolyn Bremer
Grace Han
Mike Seavey, UNI Student
Rachel Robson, Asst. Professor Biology at Morningside College
Stephanie Ann Vondrak
Samantha Specht
Conor Delaney
Darian Everding, incoming UNI Physics B.S. major and UNI Presidential Scholar
Jeannie Hurst Schroeder
Ryan C. Jones
Joe Liautaud, UNI ALum
Lesley Taylorson, UNI Alum
Sarah Cady
Constance Jane Harris Apling, UNI alum
Laura Hoistad Strauss
Jim Hale
Steven Danielson
Benjamin Hale
Kevin Osborn
Dr. Dale Olson, Professor of Physics, UNI
Charles HUbbard
Steve Henning
Dulce P. McFadden
Kevin O'Kane
Emma Jane Kinkley
Evan Ferrel
Stroh Leslie
Jason Martin-Hiner, Member of the National Science Teachers Assoc.
Stacey Snyder
Marcy Seavey
Valeria Kishkunas
Katie Nagle, Adjunct Physics Lecturer, UNI
Shanon Davis
Jenah Harris-Jones, UNI Physics Alum 
Edith Rubin Teague
Judy Bergh
Doug Shaw, UNI Professor 
Steve Duesenberg
Rosemary Campbell Geiken, Asst. Prof. East Tennessee State University, UNI ALum
Jennifer McDade Dircks
Ben Schafer, Assoc. Prof. Computer Science at UNI
Mary Meyer Lestina, Science Teacher at Iowa City High School
Kris Eick Bowers
DorothyBelle Poli, Asst. Prof of Biology at Roanoke College
Karen Elbert Carlson
Diane Walther
Dave Clark
Sarah Eastman
Jeff Morgan, Asst. Prof of Physics, UNI
Mike Schneider
Hannah Reynolds, Wake Forest Undergraduate
Alyssa Brigeman, Wake Forest Undergraduate
Matt Harding, UNI Alum & Physics Teacher, Iowa West High School
Matthew J. Farley, UNI Alum
Lynette Edsall
Jared Mike
Bernie Anding
Monika Golebiowska
Randy Worland
Brian Tlach
JoAnne Cammarata
Shelly Buelt Young
Matt Cole
Zach Weaver
Scott Sullivan, National-Louis University
Brett Gamb, UNI ALum
Amina Jan
Craig McClure, UNI Alum
Kaelynn Koch
Will Hartke
Nate Becker, UNI Alum
Suzie Allen
Matthew Even, UNI Student
Carissa Charboneau
Paula  F. Even
Kimberly Massman
Craig Pawlak, UNI Student
Cody Law,  UNI Physics Alum
Robbyn Fuller Intemann, UNI Donor
Sonia Leyva
Sarah Caldwell
Courtney Said
Sara Durnan
Scott Hirschman
Adam Osterhaus
Jessa Sparks
Joe Story
Kayla Yario
Kota Proctor
Andrew Bach
Wes Even, UNI Alum
JoLynn Backes
Sara Richardson
Orijit Kar, UNI Student
Max Giles, University of Minnesota Undergraduate
Lauren Morgan, UNI Alum
Nick Jenson, UNI Alum
Brian Hovey
Jamie Thomas
Cindy Bancroft, UNI Alum
Christopher Schwartz
Theresa Dethlefs
Maggie Payne, Wake Forest Undergraduate Student
Loah Stevens, Wake Forest Undergraduate Student
Kevin Twedt, UNI Alum
Christopher Starks, UNI Alum
Wade Sick, UNI Alum
Sairam Ravi
Chris Messina, UNI Alum
Eric Potratz, UNI Alum
Andrea Conley, UNI Alum
Adam Perkins, UNI Alum
Kevin Junck, UNI Alum
Alan Ross, UNI Alum
Cary Pint, UNI Alum
Jigang Wang, Assistant Professor / Associate Scientist, Iowa State University & Ames Laboratory
Donna Carrigan Olmstead
Charlie Figura, Wartburg College
Kevin Olson
Lawrence Escalada, Prof. of Physics, UNI
Tristin Johnson, UNI Alum
Maggie Payne
John Hondzinski
Patrick Malloy
Noah Hurley
Esperanza Pintor Martinez
Hannah Arnold
Keller McBride
Jennifer Marie Habel Kelchen
Dan Eivens
Kelly Rumbaugh
Gracie Harrington
Michelle Gallipeau
Ori Wright
Danielle Ambrogio
Kelly Grace Watson
Lauren Peters
Kim Struglinski
Alyssa Brigeman
Nella Hendley
Elizabeth Giggs Patterson
Sarah Sinnott
Sarah Kruyer
Shellie Roth
Kelly Braun
Nicolle Moore
Melissa Nelson
Jon Rameau, Brookhaven National Laboratory
Cori Becker
Caroline Gezon, Wake Forest University
Steven Yeninas, Graduate Student, Iowa State University
Grace Rovner
Barb Schilf, UNI Alum
Amy Templin
Rebecca Roth
Ashley Rash
Ann Saliares
Rachael Flanegin
Caroline Gezon
Stacy Miller Glascock
Brittany Wurdeman
Steven Yeninas
Matt Gerst
Dave Hetzer
Sarah Clark
Meredith Brown
Audrey Loeys
Samantha Hill
Rueben Collins, UNI Alum, Professor and Director of Renewable Energy Research Center, Colorado School of Mines
Jessica Libberton
Brook Garrison
Tina Everding
Morgan Horning-Griffin
Jimmy Feeley
Lisa Grapp Orsborn
Carolyn Vespa
Meg An
Joyce Specht
Paula Herrera Siklody
Libi Baehr
Noah Podolefsky
Kimberly Cordray
Aaron Mangel
Alejandra Pederson
Nelson A. Colon Vargas
Dr. Craig Ogilvie, Professor of Physics and Assistant Dean of the Graduate College, Iowa State University
Heather Hickerson
Steven Schoo
Kelli Duggan
Abby Hamilton
Drew Rose
Dave Deibler
Casey Sheets, UNI Student
Mary McInnis Meyer
Amy Frohradt-Schafer
Seth Partnow
Ali Hamad
Cary Pint
Christopher Holmes, Brookhaven National Laboratory
David C. Hilmers, NASA Astronaut, MD, EE, MPH, Assoc. Prof., Depts. of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, Center for Space Medicine, Baylor Coll. Med.
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John Deisz,
Mar 4, 2012, 2:21 PM
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Timothy Kidd,
Mar 9, 2012, 9:13 PM
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John Deisz,
Mar 7, 2012, 6:37 AM