Physics2017 SRP

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Physics Short Range Plan


Create a 1-2 page document that advocates the hiring of new physics faculty at the assistant level.

Outline Arguments

  1. Compare Department performance in 2009 to current performance showing the impact of having a department with more than 6 faculty (increase enrollment)
  2. Compare the number of full time faculty in peer institutions (ISU=6, average of peer institutions=13)
  3. delineate how the reduction in faculty has prevented regular faculty rotations through courses offered by the program, faculty are needed in upper division courses
  4. larger class sizes are needed due to the limited number of physics faculty
  5. the department is currently without any Assistant professors, the infusion of new faculty an essential component of a healthy department.
  6. Identify currently faculty that are willing to assume the responsibilities of a Department Chair
  7. Physics needs to be able to diversify the sources of its research/grad student support funds. My understanding is we just have two research grants supporting students (my NNSA and the NSF). (My other two grants support students in other depts.)This makes the grad program highly susceptible to funding fluctuations.


The Physics Department at Idaho State University proposes the replacement of faculty lost to attrition through a process of hiring visiting assistant professors and one tenure-track assistant professor in order to increase the Department's productivity. The loss of full time faculty in the Physics department over the last five years has removed faculty from underrepresented groups in science, has created a department size far below ISU's peer institutions, and has impacted ISU's ability to serve its students effectively. This loss of faculty has been among the highest of all the departments in the College of Science and Engineering. We propose to reverse this trend by hiring at least one visiting assistant professor each year for the next three years. The Physics department would seek candidates pursuing research that expands the capabilities of the Idaho Accelerator Center with the goal of requesting a tenure track position for those candidates who create a program of externally funded research.

At least six years ago, ISU's Physics Department was composed of thirteen Ph.D. faculty, three of which were women. The department size was consistent with the average number of physics faculty in the peer institutions listed by ISU. The physics program had an enrollment of over 50 graduate students and was able to service students with Ph.D. faculty across the spectrum of introductory and advanced courses. The physics department has lost half of its faculty and its graduate students. There are no longer any faculty from underrepresented groups and most of the remaining faculty are at the rank of full professor. This reduction in man power has forced the department to depend more on the hiring of adjuncts to teach the lower division courses as well as the use of faculty from other departments to help with upper division courses. We fear this path will lead to a department composed of full professors who focus more on teaching service courses than maintaining the University's research profile. The infusion of new faculty at the Assistant level is one of the key ingredients needed to alter this trajectory and maintain a healthy department.

The loss of faculty to attrition has also had a negative impact on the research program. In 2011, research programs from faculty in the Physics Department generated over a million dollars in indirects, a factor of five more than what it being generated now. The Idaho Accelerator Center no longer has any full time physics research faculty. We believe this places one of ISU's oldest and historically productive research centers at risk. There are two remaining research programs that are currently supporting graduate students in physics. One of those programs has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation for over ten years. The Physics Department is requesting to reinvigorate its program by hiring visiting assistant professors who will expand the research program at the Idaho Accelerator Center.

ISU's physics faculty believe the department has the potential to repeat the growth it experienced the last time the department was allowed to expand. In 2005, the physics department added three new faculty. The department saw the number of graduate students double just two years after the hiring of these new faculty. The growth continued until 2011 when faculty were lost to attrition and not replaced. We can clearly see that graduate enrollment has been decreasing since 2011 to the point that our graduate student population is less than half of what it was. We currently have more graduate students than we are able service with our remaining research active faculty.

We propose that ISU begin replacing the faculty that have been lost. Instead of hiring a new chair, we would like to hire visiting assistant professors who will work to restore the IAC research program and increase our enrollment our typical historical levels. This expansion will also allow the department to once again rotate Ph.D. faculty through lower division courses. The following faculty are willing to serve as chair of the department and work towards the above goals; Dr. Tony Forest, Dr. Steven Shropshire, Dr. Erdinch Tatar. The department strongly feels a course change is needed and we look forward to your support.

Idaho State University invites applications for a Visiting Assistant Professor position in Physics. Candidates with the potential to interface with our current research programs will be preferred. The principle research emphasis of the program is on applications of nuclear science using the electron accelerators at the Idaho Accelerator Center (IAC). Research areas include nuclear physics, pulsed power, novel radiation beams, accelerator physics, photon activation analysis, medical isotope development and commercialization, non-destructive evaluation and materials analysis, and homeland security and nuclear non-proliferation/safeguards. In addition, the Physics Program has ongoing research collaborations with several national laboratories. IAC resources include an S-Band 6 kW electron LINAC, a 44 MeV LINAC capable of picosecond pulses, a Tri-MeV 30 kA pulse power accelerator, and a 2 MeV positive-ion Van de Graaff.



  1. Ph.D. Physics
  2. Experimentalist


  1. Nuclear Physicist
  2. Post Doctoral experience
  3. Ability to interface with the IAC
  4. Ability to attract external Funding
  5. Candidates research sustainability
  6. hardware experience
  7. demonstrated communication skills


year 1: 2x($59-63) pos, $10k travel for 5 , $300 phys today ad year 2&3: $59-63 pos., $6k travel, $300 Phys today ad