This is an astrophysics course for physics students. The course wilcover the basics of observational techniques, structure andevolution of stars, interstellar medium and star formation, structureand properties of the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, andgeneration and transfer of radiation in astrophysical environments.
Astrophysics is one of the fastest-growing fields of physics. From extrasolar planets to distant galaxies to graviational waves from colliding black holes, astrophysics is filled with numerous examples of exciting recent discoveries. This course is essential to offer Physics majors an introduction to the basic concepts of astrophysics. At USC, similar overview courses exist for other areas of physics, but not for astrophysics. We have several 100/200-level courses in astronomy, but these cater largely to the non-science majors and are more qualitative. There is no course at a suitable level for physics majors. As a result, current undergraduates interested in pursuing astrophysics at the graduate level have no upper-level astrophysics courses in their transcripts when they apply for graduate school, which is a significant disadvantage for them. The proposed course is intended to remedy this situation. The course may also prove useful for students interested in pursuing careers in space science.
This course will build on the students' knowledge of basic modern physics, mechanics, and thermal physics to illustrate how it can be applied to interpret observations of a variety of astrophysical objects and their evolution.
The state of South Carolina has remained significantly underrepresented in astrophysics compared to most other states in the US. In order to improve this situation, it is essential to train students in astrophysics. The proposed course is a key step in this direction.
Because this is a new course, we do need a separate proposal for ASTR 546. Because we don’t have ASTR 546 at this time (and there is no time to get it in and reviewed before the meeting), I am going to table the PHYS 546 course so they will go through together. The proposal for ASTR 546 will basically be identical to your current proposal.
I am going to return your PHYS 546 proposal because an issue was raised on the syllabus.
In the syllabus, a bit more explanation for the tasks in the to be completed is needed. What are the expectations on the tests (e.g., multiple choice, short answer, essay, combination, other? and are they cumulative)? Same questions for the final exam. More information is needed on the expectations for homework, and how participation and seminar will be evaluated.
It will be important to identify differences between what the undergraduate students need to do and what the graduate students need to do. For example, you have different weights for grads and undergrads, but do they do the same problem sets, or is there a higher standard for graduate students? What is involved in the graduate seminar requirement? The driving force here is that there needs to be a difference in expectations for graduate and undergraduate students taking the same course, and that needs to be explained in the syllabus.
I am returning the proposal so this issue can be addressed.
Chair of the Curricula and Courses Committee
Administratively returned on behalf of the proponent.
Thank you for submitting your proposal to the Committee on Curricula & Courses. We are moving your proposal forward to the Faculty Senate. It is recommended someone from the department attend the next Faculty Senate meeting in case there are questions from the floor regarding your proposal.
We appreciate your patience and commitment to undergraduate and graduate education.
John Gerdes, Chair803email@example.comFaculty Senate Committee on Curricula and Courses