Faculty Opening in Physics at Berry College
Berry College is a selective liberal-arts college with about 2100 students. The College offers graduate degrees in business and education, but is primarily focused on undergraduate education in the arts and sciences. Berry is located in scenic Northwest Georgia on a 26,000 acre campus (the largest college campus in the USA), most of which is occupied by natural forest. The mission of the College is to provide students with an education of the head, heart, and hands. Berry combines a strong academic curriculum with an active student work program in which the vast majority of students participate. Spiritual exploration is encouraged through the College's Religion-In-Life Program (though Berry has no specific religious affiliation).
The Physics Department at Berry is a joint department with Geology, but the sole geologist essentially acts independently. There are currently three full-time faculty in physics: two tenured and one in the second year of a two-year appointment who will be replaced by the successful tenure-track candidate. We offer two majors in physics (one designed for those who wish to pursue graduate study, and another designed for future secondary teachers and others with an interest in physics but no plans to pursue graduate work) as well as a minor. In recent years we have graduated 3-6 physics majors per year (approximately 50% female). We have sent several students to physics graduate programs in recent years. The department is committed to employing teaching methods based on physics education research. Current faculty employ active learning strategies such as peer instruction, guided-inquiry worksheets, inquiry labs, and classroom presentation of homework to keep students fully engaged during class time. For more information on our teaching methods, see the Active Learning at Berry
blog. The successful candidate will have an opportunity to learn about active learning methods from two instructors with many years of experience using these methods. We offer courses in physics and astronomy that support the College's General Education curriculum, algebra-based and calculus-based introductory sequences, and upper-division courses in computational physics, mathematical methods, classical mechanics, electromagnetism, modern physics, statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and advanced laboratory methods (2 courses). We occasionally offer electives in astrophysics/cosmology or solid-state physics. We would like for the successful candidate to improve our advanced lab offerings and possibly develop a new course with an applied focus (optics, electronics, etc.).
The physics program is housed in McAllister Hall, named for Berry's first physics professor. The facilities for the physics program consist of a central lounge area with three adjoining faculty offices, research labs for each faculty member, a student computer room, a workshop room, two teaching labs (seating up to 24 students each) each with an adjoining prep room, and various storage spaces. Although the department does not have a lab manager, student workers typically assist in setting up equipment for the teaching labs. Physics shares a secretary with the other science departments. In addition, the College has a small observatory located on the campus. The enrollment of the College has increased in recent years and may continue to increase further. It is expected that the physics department will grow along with the college, so it is likely that we will be able to add a fourth faculty position (and/or a lab manager) sometime during the next five years.
This is a tenure-track position that will begin in August 2014. The successful candidate will be expected to teach 21 contact hours per academic year, with full credit given for lab courses. This typically equates to five "lecture" courses and three labs, spread over two semesters. In addition, the successful candidate will be expected to maintain an active research program in experimental physics. Involvement of undergraduates in research is strongly encouraged. Service commitments will involve committee work and advising, but new faculty are not expected to advise students or sit on committees during their first year. Startup research funds are available, and further support can be obtained through a variety of internal grants. Support from external grants is desirable, but not required. Laboratory space will be provided. Summer teaching is optional. Sabbaticals are granted only to tenured faculty for a single semester at full pay or a full year at half pay. Sabbaticals can be applied for every six years.
Teaching assignments will depend on the strengths and interests of the successful candidate, but likely courses include: a two-semester algebra-based introductory physics sequence with associated labs, advanced laboratory courses, and either modern physics or upper-level elective courses.
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