Friday, February 02, 2007

ISU Provost Recommends Closure of Physics Program

I reported earlier about the closure of the Physics department at Reading University in Great Britain, and the problems with the physics program in UK universities in general. If people think this problem is exclusive to the UK, think again. It is also happening in the US, but maybe not with the same trend. The physics program at Indiana State University is on the chopping block, along with other degree programs.

I suppose this is always an issue at schools with very small programs. It has to be decided between the need to have such a program that serves the university community as a whole versus the cost of continuing a program that has a small number of students and graduates each year.

Ironically, while ISU is facing closure due to low enrollments, another university in the same state is having stellar number of enrollments. I reported earlier that Indiana University is reporting a significant increase in the number of physics majors, a trend that is in line with the statistics reported by the AIP.

With the number of physics students in high school reaching record levels, it would be interesting to see if that has an effect on enrollments at smaller programs such as the one at ISU. Not sure, though, if that would be in time to save the ISU physics program.


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