Published: Jan. 9, 2020

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The Department of Physics was awarded the 2020 American Physical Society Award for Improving Undergraduate Education. The award from the APS Committee on Education “seeks to recognize excellence in undergraduate physics education and support best practices in education at the undergraduate level.” The department was one of only three undergraduate physics degree programs in the nation honored this year. CU Physics was selected based on its department-wide implementation of research-based curricular innovations, nationally recognized physics education research group, wide use of undergraduate Learning Assistants, investments in course equipment, classrooms, and student study spaces, CU Wizards and Saturday Physics Series outreach efforts to K-12 students, graduate-student led CU Prime program that introduces students to research, and the internationally recognized PhET Program. The graduation rate from the department’s physics and engineering physics majors has doubled in the last decade, now over 70 per year, and over 25% of our graduates earn Latin Honors based on their undergraduate research projects and honors theses. Our success builds on the department’s historical excellence in teaching, dating back to Frank Oppenheimer's inquiry-based undergraduate labs in the 1960s, to Al Bartlett’s decades of renowned teaching and innovative Duane classroom, to John Taylor’s Mr. Wizard shows in the 1980s and 1990s.