Mission Statement

May, 2000

The Department of Physics at Kansas State University has a broad commitment to generate and disseminate knowledge. These roles are interrelated and complement each other. The Department has a mission to do fundamental research which contributes to its educational and to its research responsibilities in a research university. The Department has a responsibility to provide a sound education in physics to a wide range of students. One of the hallmarks of good instructors is that they are enthusiastic about their subject. No one is as enthusiastic about a subject as one who is making discoveries and contributing to the understanding of the subject. The Department has a commitment to enhance diversity among its faculty, staff, students, and graduates. Finally, the faculty of the Department has a responsibility to provide service to the physics profession, to the university community, and to the citizens of Kansas.

Instruction

The Department has a professional responsibility to educate future generations of physicists. The Department will provide undergraduate physics majors with the skills the students will need to contribute effectively in their chosen careers. As part of this education the Department will endeavor to involve every undergraduate physics major in our research and/or our educational projects. The Department will make every effort to provide graduate students with the skills needed to succeed in the professions available to them. The Department has the responsibility in its graduate education program to produce persons confident of their ability to function as professionals.

The Department has the responsibility to provide a sound basic education in physics for students planning careers in science, engineering, medicine, or other disciplines that require an understanding and some applications of the principles of physics.

An additional role of the Department is to awaken in non-science students an interest in the nature of the physical world and to provide them with a familiarity with some of the current ideas and concepts in the physical sciences. They will be taught about the major role science has played in the ascent of civilization and its current central role in shaping today's society; this will enable our students to become more effective citizens in today's rapidly changing technological society.

All students must be taught a course consonant with their level of preparation; this principle requires that the Department teach a wide selection of introductory physics courses to fulfill our students' needs.

Research

The Department has the responsibility to maintain an active research program in order to contribute to our society through the generation of a better understanding of the physical world and our relationship to that world. Although the size of the Department's faculty makes it impossible to be leaders in every field of physics research, the Department's faculty will carefully choose areas of research emphasis. The Department will strive to ensure that its research program in each area of emphasis is internationally recognized for its excellence.

Such a diverse research program assures the Department a faculty that is intellectually alive, a curriculum that is current, and a familiarity with teaching methods that research has proven to be most effective. The faculty of the Department recognizes that many important research topics are of interest to faculty members from many disciplines and the Department has a duty to facilitate productive interdisciplinary scholarly projects.

Service

The Department has an obligation of service to the physics profession, the university, and the state. The Department has a responsibility to provide information for those in the geographical region of which the University is an integral part. Members of the faculty are expected to provide productive contributions to the profession and the university through service on committees and other duties. The Department thus extends both research and educational programs beyond its laboratories and formal classrooms.