Kettering University’s Department of Physics was one of four universities nationwide to receive this year’s prestigious Award for Improving Undergraduate Physics from the American Physical Society (APS). The award was presented to Dr. Bahram Roughani, department head and professor of Physics at Kettering University, at the award ceremony during the APS April National Meeting in Denver, Colo., on April 13.
“This award is a tremendous honor for the Department of Physics and for Kettering University as an institution,” Roughani said. “It shows that Kettering University’s Physics program is not only healthy and growing, but thriving nationally despite still being a young program compared to other schools that received the award. In a very short period of time, Kettering University’s Physics program has become one of the elite programs in the country.”
Also receiving the award this year were Physics programs at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse and Colorado School of Mines. Only four other colleges have received the award in its history – University of California at Berkeley, University of Illinois, Utah State University and Mount Holyoke College.
Dr. Bahram Roughani accepted the APS Award for Improving Undergraduate Education April 13 from Dr. Paul Cottle of APS. Courtesy Photo: American Physical Society
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Kettering University’s Physics program was launched in 1995. Roughani credits several factors to the program’s strength and immense popularity – Kettering has tripled its number of Physics majors since 2002.
“The Physics program at Kettering University is innovative and unique, unlike any other in the country, because of its experiential and co-op-based model,” Roughani said, noting that Kettering’s Physics program is the only one in the country that requires all students do co-op. “Our students learn in the classrooms and labs on campus, and then immediately apply what they’ve learned in real world settings with their employers.”
When Kettering University’s Physics program was developed, it was done so with industry in mind. Roughani noted that the curriculum was developed based on feedback from 450 of the leading companies in the country and tailored to their responses that acoustics, optics and materials or ‘industrial physics’ were the biggest keys to professional success. The curriculum continues to evolve and meet those industry needs because the assessment process in Physics includes feedback from students on both their co-op and thesis experiences and from corporate partners who work with Kettering University students.
Data driven changes in Kettering University’s Physics courses, curriculum and program are based on a robust continuous improvement plan that is led by faculty based on feedback from Physics alumni, students and co-op partners. This has led to the Kettering University Applied Physics degree to being the first such program in the nation to be reviewed for ABET accreditation under the Applied Science Accreditation Commission while Kettering University’s Engineering Physics has been among only selected programs in the nation reviewed under the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.
“Our program is geared toward producing students with undergraduate professional degrees in Physics that lead directly to employment,” Roughani said. “The success of our graduates, who either end up at the best graduate schools in the country or who secure employment with leading companies immediately after completing our undergraduate program are the best measures of the program’s success. Our students are successful in graduate studies and easily secure some of the highest paying jobs with an undergraduate degree based on their unique Physics education, while enabling them to work in various fields of science and engineering that also matches their passion and interests.”
Roughani noted that the award is a testament to the mix of talented Physics faculty and students as well as a supportive administration.
“This award would not be possible without faculty who are exceptional educators and researchers, students who are innovative and motivated and an administration at Kettering University that buys into and supports what we do,” Roughani said.
The American Physical Society (www.aps.org) is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of Physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy and international activities. APS represents more than 50,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, Md., Ridge, N.Y., and Washington, D.C.