D. Buna

Ramapo College of NJ (UNITED STATES)
The enrollment and retention of undergraduate students in physics and applied physics, while on the rise again, demands special educational strategies and additional efforts on the part of the faculty. Our program in Engineering Physics has seen a 400% increase in the past 8 years. The graduation rates are above 90%, the recruitment in summer research internships is above 60% and the employment following graduation remains steadily above 85%.

The success of the program is due to the following initiatives of the faculty and administration:
1. A careful modification of the curriculum to include interdisciplinary engineering-physics courses such as Semiconductors, Photonics, Medical Physics, etc
2. Additional interdisciplinary programming courses such as Python, Labview, Comsol, etc
3. Networking with Graduate program and Summer Undergraduate Research (REU) programs to identify skill set needed for a successful applicant and developing educational project that create the skills
4. Professional development of faculty in the areas needed by students for successfully fitting the skill profile of the REU application
5. Networking with local small and large companies to identify skill set needed for job openings
6. Networking with former students who are employed; bringing them on campus for honorary societies induction and awards
7. Actively applying for grants at state and federal institutions as well as private donors
8. Developing new laboratory experimental set-ups to develop skill set and showcase all new laboratories at each Open House student recruiting event
9. Improve the infrastructure of the science building and facilities to project state of the art equipment, strong faculty and administration dedication and support to promoting the Engineering Program

This comprehensive and multi-prong approach requires constant organization of faculty, professional development, student counseling and advisement and productive dialog with the administration. While the effort dedicated to this strategic plan is extremely large, the payoff is impressive. Our program is one of the largest in the state of NJ.