Texas physics departments closing down?



More from the idiocy that is Texas.

The state is disappointed that physics is a difficult course, and that a lot of people in this country want to take the easy route of education by majoring in things like business, English, art, and history.  The reason so few people (relatively speaking) graduate in physics is that it is extremely tough.  This isn’t simply read this, write an analysis being careful to give it the proper slant your professor wants …

Texas has therefore decided to threaten physics departments at the public universities in Texas to close if the professor don’t make sure at least 25 undergraduates graduate every 5 years.

The good news:  at the university level, since professors can set their grading systems to be whatever they want, they will make sure that the system graduates plenty.  The quality of said graduates will now be highly suspect (even if they are good) … so the politicians have single handedly thrown the public perception of the departments into a high degree of doubt.

I would say I’m amazed, but this is the state that gave us NCLB … a state with a horrible public education system that feels it has the testicular fortitude to dictate things to the rest of the country.  Amazingly … shuttering a department is a great way to get around (wait for it), tenure … get rid of professors who can’t be touched by politicians by eliminating their jobs entirely … and if you have to start somewhere, definitely start in the sciences because they contribute so little to society.


3 Responses to Texas physics departments closing down?

  1. Beth says:

    These are also the people, for some reason, who get to write and edit most textbooks. Scary.

    Kinda gives new meaning to: “Houston, we have a problem”

  2. Alan P says:

    25 undergrads every 5 years? 5 per year? Is that such a daunting task?

    • teganx7 says:

      These days, yes.

      People going into engineering might be on solid ground, but, seriously, when was the last time you bumped into a genuine bonafide major in plain ordinary physics. When I was working on my MS, I was told that the department was very fortunate to have a single undergraduate major graduate every 5-7 years. People just don’t go into it.

      One of the people who commented on the article noted “Close the physics department, and there’s not much point to keeping open any other science department, not to mention the entire college of engineering, since physics is a prereq for all of those majors.” Of course politicians and business people don’t understand that because an “education” to them is taking business and political science classes, and it would be great to not have to take stuff that is there to make you a “more well rounded person”.

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