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2010 Summer Meeting

2011 AAPT Summer Meeting
July 30-August 3, 2011
Omaha, Nebraska

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AB03:

The Challenge of Setting Objectives in Physics PhD Programs
  Location: HC 3027
  Date: Monday, Aug.1
  Time: 8:40 AM -9:00 AM
  Author: Thomas Cohen, University of Maryland
301-654-7702, cohen@physics.umd.edu
  Co-Author(s): None
  Abstract: It is particularly challenging in the context of physics PhD programs to construct objectives and schemes to systematically assess whether these objectives are met. This is for two reasons. The first is that these programs focus on research. It is probably true that there is broad agreement the purpose of these programs is to train students to become independent and highly competent researchers. The challenge is to articulate in a precise and measurable way precisely what skills and/or knowledge an independent and competent researcher needs to acquire. The second challenge is related to the great diversity of research subfields that exist in Physics PhD programs. Students who work on experimental "big science'' such as an LHC experiment need to learn a radically different set of skills than students working in say biophysics or computational plasma physics. Given the disparate needs of these subfields, it is particularly difficult to construct meaningful objectives that apply to all of these.
  Footnotes: Sponsor: Juan Burciaga
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