Why Physics at PVAMU
Students who have a great advantage in the job market do so because they have been exposed to practical problems in their education. Prairie View A&M University’s (PVAMU’s) Physics Program is now part of the Texas Physics Consortium, a group of nine universities working together to offer students a quality educational experience in physics. Our goal is to give physics students a unique ability over students of other disciplines. In addition to this, a physics major can choose one of several minors to complement his/her major.
The Department of Physics at PVAMU plays a vital role in the University and provides the physics teaching for all of the PVAMU students. The Department is very active both in research and teaching, with an excellent student-to-faculty ratio. The Department has an enthusiastic faculty and staff, including six full-time tenured faculty, a Laboratory Specialist, an Administrative Assistant and several student workers. The department also has a strong link with other research centers and groups, including the Prairie View Solar Observatory (one of only two such facilities in the state of Texas), NASA-Johnson Space Center, and others.
The physics department at Prairie View A&M University has three major goals:
- to provide a firm foundation in physics for those pursuing careers in areas such as biology, chemistry, computer science, dentistry, engineering, medical sciences, mathematics, and school teaching
- to acquaint students with the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the natural universe – to develop each student’s ability to model the world and to make measurements, and understand and infer from such measurements; and
- above all, to prepare the outgoing graduates with skills for posing and solving a diversity of problems, for incorporating available technologies, and for reporting the results of such work.
PV Physics has a combination of small class size (although some introductory physics classes can and do become fairly large) with individualized attention, relatively low tuition, and opportunities for research and personal development.
The Physics Department is housed, along with the Biology and Chemistry departments, in the E. E. O’Banion (New) Science Building, a state-of-the-art building completed during the fall of 2000 and occupied in the spring of 2001. The building has modern classrooms and laboratories with computerized multi-media equipment. The physics laboratories host the latest in laboratory equipment, which includes the latest in computer-aided data acquisition and analysis. physics experimental bundles. The department is in the process of acquiring more equipment for the advanced physics courses as well as establishing, through Title III, the Center for Astronomical Sciences and Technologies.
Distance Education Capabilities at Prairie View A&M
- Hub for North Star Telecommunications Network
- Electronic classroom with standards-based VTel Codec operating at 384K
- Direct connection to TTVN (Trans Texas Video Network) and dial-on-demand to Texas VidNet
- Eight port multi-point control unit for eight site conferences
- Direct connection from classroom to the Internet
- Direct connection to tunable C/Ku band satellite dish
- Direct connection to campus for free and cable television channels
- VCR, Laser Video Disc and Computer inputs
The faculty and staff of the Department provide an excellent mentoring to students in all the classes. In particular, those students who have demonstrated a true aptitude for learning receive individual attention from the faculty towards assistance in planning for their future careers. An excellent example is that of at least six of our physics majors who went on to receive their Ph.D.’s in Physics at major universities in the U.S. Currently we host sixteen majors in Physics and an additional three have recently graduated, with two more preparing to graduate in the Fall of 2013. Except for the physical science course whose class sizes average around fifty, most other physics classes average around fifteen to forty. The small size of physics classes permits closer attention to each individual student. Laboratories are designed to prepare students for independent projects after four semesters of structured experiments. Students then are encouraged to schedule independent research projects with a faculty member.
Our Commitment to Students, Parents and Stakeholders
The Physics Department works hard to maintain the quality of teaching and research. In doing so, the faculty and staff pay considerable attention to the opinions of the students. These opinions are obtained in a variety of ways.
- Online Student Opinion Surveys (SOS) near the end of each semester
- Suggestion Box in the Department Office
- Anonymous Questionnaires
- E-mail surveys and responses
The Department Curriculum Committee and the Program Coordinator carefully monitor the academic content and workload of all courses. They also assess the lecturing practices and abilities of the individual members of the faculty and, when appropriate, take any steps necessary to ensure that the teaching is of the highest quality.
- Students are not a hindrance or a nuisance. They are the ones keeping us in our jobs.
- Service to our customers – students, parents, industry, government – cannot be compromised.
- Everyone brings a unique strength.
- Need to respect and capitalize on diversity.
- Mutual respect, courtesy and civility non-negotiable.
- Professionalism, ethics and integrity non-negotiable.
Prairie View A&M University in Brief
For a description of the history and mission of PVAMU, go to http://www.pvamu.edu/pages/602.asp