Physics Faculty Retreat (Saturday, April 15, 2000)




  1. Chair’s Opening Comments
    1. Remember IPR along with IPST, CSR and MRSEC
    2. Bring the question regarding Takeuchi to the Faculty (Affiliate)
    3. Why do Physics departments move up in the rankings

                                                              i.      Nat’l Academy Members

                                                            ii.      New World Class Centers and Programs


  1. Priorities Committee
    1. Giving up lines since 1994
    2. Hires in Initiatives
    3. Multi-Disciplinary/Multi-Departmental Nature of the Initiative process.  We must consider Multi-Departmental Planning and it should happen early in the process.
    4. EDW: “Priorities Committee = Preserve the Status-Quo”
    5. Refuted above w/ Initial Priorities Charge to Identify NEW areas, however when you have 5 people their tendency is to protect their discipline.
  2. Situation Analysis
    1. Nick Chant (Get copies of his slides.)

                                                              i.      Find out what the Qualifier requirements are for our top-10 competitors (Glenn Mason).

                                                            ii.      Update Web Directory, Publications page, Faculty Web sites, Photo takes too long to load, Fix our Web Site!! –Victor Yak.

                                                          iii.      Environment for Women and Minorities for Grad Students.

    1. Fred Wellstood (Get copies of his slides.)

                                                              i.      Applied Masters in 5 years.

                                                            ii.      Computer requirements in our undergrad program.

                                                          iii.      Joint-tracks


                                                           iv.      We need faculty to step forward and say “I’m free and I’m willing to teach a new course in ???”

                                                             v.      We are tight on teachers in the fall, may be okay in the spring. Perhaps we should not do other things? Choose not to offer other courses??

    1. Drew Baden (Get copies of his slides.)

                                                              i.      PSC 1 and 2 (Beginning in 06 for planning ending in 09)

                                                            ii.      Other projects have moved up and we will try to move ours up as well to avoid having it killed over time.

                                                          iii.      Red Flag Initiative

1.      Everything must go through Terlisner

2.      Prioritization of red-flag items

                                                           iv.      Dean’s Request for short-term needs (Wish lists)

1.      50-100k or less items

                                                             v.      Several one-time-only requests put forward. (networking, etc., )

                                                           vi.      Department Resources

                                                         vii.      PCS

1.      PCS Review Committee (Nick Hadley Chair)

a.      Review and Recommend (Report By Fall)

2.      Shops Review (Webb is Chair)

3.      Telephones

a.      $35/Mo. W/out calls.

b.      $4/Mo. If Charged to State $14/Mo. If charged to research groups.


    1. Departmental Vision: (Get copies of his slides.)

                                                              i.      Academic Excellence (JAG)

                                                            ii.      Impact on the High-Tech Field. (Be a Key Player in the Washington Area Tech Center -Alex Dragt.)

                                                          iii.      Applied Masters in Physics

1.      We need a process to facilitate setting up these new educational programs. (Greg Sullivan)

2.      We should be doing it and here’s who will:

a.      Committee: Adil, Anderson, Ellen Williams, Dennis Drew, Dennis Papadopolis.

                                                           iv.      Development Board (Drew Baden)

                                                             v.      Graduates are nearly unemployable w/out current computer skills. (C Programming is needed)

                                                           vi.      Bio-Physics

1.      Visiting programs, having visitors come here.

2.      We have NIH here and we should take advantage of it.

3.      Dave Thirmali

4.      IPST 5-Year Strategic Plan includes Bio-physics.

5.      Dick Prange: Must have a significant experimental component.

6.      UMIACS has Computational-Biology planned, so we’ve almost missed the boat.


7.      Bio-Physics Seminar on May 5th ? (Victor Yak.)

                                                         vii.      Threaded Discussion Groups for Physics Faculty

                                                       viii.      Should we try to move into the Top-10?

1.      Academic Excellence

2.      Exciting Physics

3.      Top-10

a.      Circulate Criteria for US News and NRC rankings

b.      Chris Lobb “Unqualified endorsement of Top-10 as a goal.”

c.      B. Hu “Academic Excellence should be our top goal.”

d.      JAG:  These three goals feed on each other and therefore we should also be more visible.

e.      Jim Drake “The danger of relying on US News rankings is that it doesn’t reflect the reality of APS areas.”

f.        If we focus on rankings this may cause us to eliminate smaller groups.

g.      Where should we be replacing ourselves? Drew Baden

h.      Should we bring in Nobel Laureates and Nat’l Academy members?

i.        JAG: Not necessarily, but we should nucleate an AMO group around a young Noble Laureates! (Broad consensus stated.)

j.         Lathrop:  We need to seed new areas as well as adding people to areas that are strong. (Austin is designating 50% of their planning over the next 7 years to new areas.)

k.      How can we predict what will be the big, new areas in the future?

l.         We need to be able to shift people in current areas to new growth areas.

m.    Quantum Computing, Nano, Bio-physics, etc.

n.      We must set the standard in the areas in which we work. The top-10 are all clear leaders in particular areas.

o.      We shouldn’t go into areas that we don’t have a chance to be #1.

p.      Or at least the top 10 groups.

q.      Perhaps we should get to know the Chairs of the Physics departments.

r.        Hire the best Faculty (Geoffroy)

s.      The University hasn’t backed that up (Das Sarma)

t.        The University is considering taking facility $$ and putting it into faculty salaries.

u.      Superstar $$$

  1. Vice President for Advancement Brodie Remington
    1. Quiz
    2. People give to success, not distress.
    3. People give to people not organizations.
    4. What can FACULTY DO:

                                                              i.      Build Pride in the Physics Department among students and alumni

                                                            ii.      Identification of prospective donors

                                                          iii.      Only Athletics has enough top prospects to justify a full-time fundraising person.

                                                           iv.      Research is ongoing to identify our alumni

                                                             v.      Communication to Alumni and friends is very important

1.      Tell development officials about your exciting work

2.      Communicate any information that you have regarding alums

                                                           vi.      Participation (Faculty giving, telling the story of the University and asking for gifts.)

                                                         vii.      Corporate Associates of the AIP, representing the top-corporations interested in physics and bring them into the department to advise us on our work and development. (Can we get support $$$ and give sports tickets.)

                                                       viii.      99% of the $$ are directed by the donors to specific tasks.

                                                           ix.      We should look at centuries rather than US News rankings. Basic principles of physics. (Alley)


  1. Guiding Principles for Hiring:
    1. Hire in top-groups that will have a national/international impact. (JAG)
    2. Maintain groups that have existing strength and necessary in a base Physics program. (JAG)
    3. Hire in new areas that are important and we can leverage our commitment. (JAG)
    4. Hires in areas that will have a positive impact on education. (Lathrop)


                                                              i.      We need to move into new areas and take some risks. (Ott)

                                                            ii.      70% in currently strong groups, 30% in new exciting groups. (Papadapoulus)

                                                          iii.      Hire in groups that attract top graduate students. (Ted Jacobson) Maybe not, these groups can’t necessarily support the students that they attract.

                                                           iv.      We will not have as many T.A.s in the future (JAG).

                                                             v.      Who should we use to do the TA work?

                                                           vi.      “Hires in areas that will have a positive impact on education.” (Lathrop)

                                                         vii.      We shouldn’t try to attract too many students in areas that do not assist the economic need. If we produce a bunch of graduates that study areas that don’t have lots of jobs. (Victor Y.)

                                                       viii.      We have been dancing around the issue of shrinking areas that used to be very strong, but are no longer the top groups. Should we be doing a 1 for 2 replacement or something in this area. (Ted Einstein)

                                                           ix.      Excellence of research should take precedence. (?)

                                                             x.      We should help faculty to move out of shrinking areas into growing areas.

                                                           xi.      Caution against throwing out older groups with distinguished histories. We must be very careful about this procedure. (Hu)

                                                         xii.      Not breadth in the top-10 only excellence. Distinguished programs are those that have several top groups NOT tons of good ones. (Dragt)

                                                       xiii.      We don’t need big groups. We need excellent groups. They DON’T have to be big. (Misner)

                                                       xiv.      Top groups have $$$ and small groups. How do we get there? (Luty)

    1. Priorities Process:

                                                              i.      Dick Prange made the case for moving into new exciting areas. NLD was the outcome of this. (Wallace)

                                                            ii.      We have a balance process. The initiatives are great and I have been a big supporter, however I have heard today that if we aren’t careful about striking a balance the unfunded initiatives are going to destroy us. (Wallace)

                                                          iii.      Elected priorities committee represents the groups rather than the overall needs of the department. (Drake)

                                                           iv.      NLD was viewed a success of the Priorities committee, is that true? Wasn’t it the Dean. (Drake)

                                                             v.      NO. It was the priorities committee. (Others)

                                                           vi.      We need to have some process, the priorities committee process may not be perfect, but please offer an alternative process. (Hassam)

                                                         vii.      Should the Chair appoint a group?

                                                       viii.      Should the priorities comm. Present their DRAFT plan to the full faculty before it is complete and get input on what they are drafting before it is complete. (as was suggested for the initiatives.) JAG

                                                           ix.      Faculty should be able to present their ideas to be discussed by the full faculty (?)

                                                             x.      We originally developed our priorities process to get away from chaotic decision-making. I think that now we are ready to open it up a bit more and I think that Jordan’s suggestion regarding giving the draft to the full faculty is a good idea. (Wallace)

                                                           xi.      There are opportunities for us to get to the top 10 in certain groups. We need to take advantages of these. We need to build on our academic excellence. (Hu)

                                                         xii.      We should ask the tough questions and ask ourselves what we should do with each group in the department.

                                                       xiii.      We must be careful of the Tyranny of the majority. (?)

                                                       xiv.      Ed Ott came to the campus in 1978 and we hired our first person in NLD 20 years later. We also hire Assistant Professors. We may have to go after more senior faculty more often. The priorities committee should have some input into the strategic planning document that Jordan must prepare for the Dean in May. And I hope that we can us the new process with the DRAFT coming to faculty before a final is done. (Tom)

                                                         xv.      We need to incorporate a way to deal with increasingly multi-disciplinary activities and initiatives. (JAG)

                                                       xvi.      We will begin with the Priorities Plan and use it as the basis of our strategic plan. (JAG)

                                                     xvii.      Review IPR, IPST’s plans before we build our own. (Lathrop) We will make those available to the physics faculty. (JAG)

                                                   xviii.      Don’t disregard Math. (Dragt)