A number of studies have outlined issues facing departments. Several are given below for various sizes of departments and departmental contexts. These reports clarify, and in some cases codify, actions that can be taken at the departmental level.
• Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics: Project Report (Hilborn et al., 2003; see Box 2.2), known as the SPIN-UP report, was the result of an intensive study of how some undergraduate programs thrived in a period of falling enrollments nationally.
• Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics at Two-Year Colleges: Best Practices of Physics Program (Monroe et al., 2005), known as the SPIN-UP/TYC report, is a complementary effort to SPIN-UP that focuses on 2-year colleges.
• Gender Equity: Strengthening the Physics Enterprise in Universities and National Laboratories (APS, 2007) relates information gathered from Ph.D.-granting departments on techniques to improve climate and promote gender equity at research universities and national laboratories.
• Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (PCAST, 2012), issued by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, provides a national perspective on and recommends significantly increasing the number of high-quality STEM graduates in the United States.
• Transforming the Preparation of Physics Teachers: A Call to Action (National Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics, 2013; see Box 2.3), from APS, AAPT, and AIP, documents successful programs of high school teacher education in physics and provides an analysis and recommendations for building and improving such programs.
Recommendation B2. Departmental leadership should discuss and consider how to implement physics-specific learning goals, recognizing the needs of varying student constituencies, the needs of future employers and teachers of these students, and the views of alumni.
Physics departments need to be aware of and respond to the needs of the many different groups of students who enroll in introductory courses. For all students, physics education should help develop skill sets that prepare the student for further learning, for future employment, and for participation in the broader scientific enterprise.
Important goals for physics majors include the following:
• Participating in an undergraduate research experience. Programs should encourage students to apply for Research Experiences for Undergraduates and other off-campus undergraduate research experiences (see Box 4.1),