Mission and Student Learning Outcomes


The mission of the Department of Physics is to realize the university mission specifically in the field of physics and related areas such as astronomy. UNC Asheville provides a superior liberal arts education for its students where our small environment affords the opportunity for faculty to work with students on an individual basis. The mission of the Department of Physics consists of three specific goals.

  1. To provide an excellent program for physics majors. The courses for the major are small with a high level of interaction between faculty and student. We encourage undergraduate research. In fact, one of our faculty members, Prof. Michael Ruiz, is a cofounder of the UNC Asheville Undergraduate Research Program (1984) and also a cofounder of the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (1987). We have a long history of commitment to excellence for our majors.
  2. To provide an excellent set of introductory courses needed for science majors who go on to major in areas such as atmospheric sciences, biology, chemistry, engineering, and related fields. We have two levels of introductory physics for this purpose: one that uses calculus and another that only employs algebra and trigonometry.
  3. To provide a rich interdisciplinary courses for the non-science major. These include both lab-science and cluster courses for our Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies (ILS) Program. There are three main courses, all of which have no prerequisites: astronomy, light, and sound. These courses are very popular and are among the first to fill up during preregistration.

We hope you will experience one or more of our exciting courses at UNC Asheville.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Evaluate a physical problem to determine the relevant parameters and approximation schemes to be used within the framework of the fundamental laws of nature.
  2.  Write down the basic laws of classical/modern physics and apply these in the mathematical solution of problems.
  3.  Set up experiments to measure physical quantities, record data, analyze results, and fit the data with appropriate mathematical formulas.
  4.  Communicate physics such as theory and experimental data by formal presentation to peers and faculty.

Classroom Use of Electronic Devices

Use of electronic devices in the classroom can be detrimental to the learning process, not only for the user but also for other members of the class. Electronic devices include cell phones, laptops, iPads, iPods, nooks, Kindles and other forms of tablets. Our policy is given below.

  1. All cell phones, computers, and electronic devices must be turned off by the time class starts.
  2. An electronic device may only be used in class with prior approval from the instructor or from Disability Services. If a device is approved for taking notes, the instructor may ask to see the notes taken during class.
  3. Students ignoring the policy are considered participating in disruptive conduct, resulting in appropriate actions described in the UNC Asheville catalog.
  4. Any unauthorized use of an electronic device during an exam is, in addition, considered an act of academic dishonesty, and results in additional actions described in the UNC Asheville catalog.

UNCA Campus with Students on the Quad