Texas to low-enrollment physics programs: raise graduation rates or close

Nature has a report on a meeting between Texas higher ed officials and a delegation from the American Physical Society:

Members of the American Physical Society requested yesterday’s meeting with the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) after announcements in recent weeks that nearly half of the 24 undergraduate physics programmes at state funded universities could be on the chopping block if they fail to graduate at least 25 students every 5 years.

“Until now, most faculty members thought their role was to do research and teach courses they were assigned. Now, researchers at institutions in Texas are going to have to take responsibility for students graduating successfully,” says Michael Marder, a physicist at the University of Texas at Austin who attended the meeting.

But it’s not necessarily just Texas:

The change may not be confined to Texas. The state’s plans are being carefully watched by officials in other states who are looking for ways to reduce higher-education budgets. Florida governor Rick Scott, for example, has publicly voiced an interest in similar measures.


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