December 6, 2016
Research-Based Physics Curriculum Draws Attention at Conference
Dr. Mark Yuly, professor of physics at Houghton College, was recently invited to present at the 24th biennial Conference on Application of Accelerators in Research and Industry (CAARI) in Fort Worth, Texas.
This international conference brings together professors, engineers, and researchers from around the globe who use particle accelerators in their day-to-day work. Yuly, who also serves as Houghton’s associate dean for mathematics and natural sciences, was invited to speak at the CAARI conference in representation of the college’s physics program. His presentation, “Making Research Part of the Undergraduate Physics Curriculum,” highlighted how his department’s requirement that every student complete a multi-year research project develops successful science graduates.
Yuly was pleased to discover that this focus on engagement has earned Houghton an excellent reputation as an institution that prioritizes undergraduate research. In fact, another presenter at the conference used Houghton as a noteworthy pioneer of undergraduate student research involvement, praising the college’s strong investment in hands-on, collaborative physics research.
Yuly believes that Houghton’s physics program is unique because it “[focuses] on students. Because we’re small, we can get to know our students and work really hard to engage every single student. We do that by involving them in research projects, by doing research with them in the summer, by building physics research right into the curriculum.”
Such opportunities are poised to grow, as the physics department just welcomed its largest class in over 15 years. Students are not only receiving an education but also seeking out and performing the very types of investigations that their post-graduation professions may require. The department’s excellent placement rate for further education or employment attests to the power of this unique approach.