committee assignments

2017-2018 Committee Assignments

The Appointments and Promotions Committee assignment is for fifteen months, beginning each Oct. 1, to allow for continuity of pending Dec. 15 cases. The Candidacy Committee assignment begins in late summer through the following spring quarter. All other committee assignments are from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30 of the academic year.

The TAC also includes representatives from the Department (D.Reid, V.Bistrow, S.Gazes) and the College (Margot Dewey) and two students appointed by the Chairman.

Policy & Strategy Y. Kim, E. Blucher, J. Carlstrom, H. Jaeger, P. Wiegmann
Appointments & Promotions (10/1/17-12/31/18)
C. Wagner, H. Jaeger, S. Ryu, Y. Wah, S. Wakely
(cases started during academic year 2017-18)
J. Carlstrom, K. Levin, C. Wagner, W. Irvine
(cases started during academic year 2016-17)
Teaching Activities M. Oreglia, W. Kang, D. Kutasov, M. Levin, D. Miller, S. Palmer
Candidacy Committee L. Wang, L. Grandi, E. Martinec, A. Murugan 
Colloquium C. Chin, D.T. Son, V. Vitelli
Friday Lectures L. Wang, W. Zhang
Admissions M. Shochet, E. Berg, J. Collar, P. Guyot-Sionnest, J. Harvey, M. Rust, R. Wald, L. Young
Graduate Student Recruiting W. Irvine, D. Holz, D. Miller, D. Schuster, J. Simon, A. Vieregg
Fellowships and Awards P. Wiegmann, G. Savard
Faculty Awards  
Forget the Year Party D. Kutasov
SPS & GRE Advisor D. Schuster
Physics REU Program S. Nagel
Education, Outreach, and Communication Y. Kim, S. Nagel
Alumni Relations P. Littlewood, K. Levin
Department Climate M. Gardel, H. Frisch, D. Holz, D. Schmitz, A. Vieregg
Bridge Program E. Blucher, H. Jaeger, Y. Kim, S. Meyer, D. Reid
Graduate Review Chair S. Sethi

Policy & Strategy Committee

The policy and strategy committee advises the Chair of the department on matters of department-wide policies and practices. Most policy committee reccomendations are later considered by the entire faculty. The committee is also charged to track promising faculty candidates and make recommendations on future research directions and faculty searches among other things.

Appointments & Promotions Committee

The appointments and promotions committee oversees the process of appointing new faculty and promoting current faculty. This committee is charged with obtaining all pertinent documents concerning the cases, and presenting these cases to the full faculty for consideration.

In order for a given committee to see all the cases it develops to completion, each committee serves for 15 months, from October 1st of the year it was formed through December 31st of the following year. Hence, there is a 3-month overlap (October - December) during which time new cases are developed by the newly formed committee while the previous year's committee completes any of its remaining cases.

Teaching Activities Committee (TAC)

The teaching activities committee (TAC) advises the department on matters concerning the graduate and undergradute curricula. This committee reviews the department's course offerings, teaching assignments, and any proposed changes to our various program requirements and recommendations. The TAC may also play an active role in teaching-related issues that arise during the academic year. In addition to the committee members from the regular faculty, the TAC also includes representatives from the department (Van Bistrow, Stuart Gazes, David Reid), the College (Margot Dewey), and the student body (1 undergraduate and 1 graduate).

Candidacy Committee

The candidacy committee is responsible for administering the department's candidacy system which includes the graduate diagnostic exam that the department offers every autumn. Although the instructors of the first-year graduate course are also part of the system, the primary responsibility for ensuring that the system functions properly rests with this committee the Chair for which this assignments counts as 1-course of teaching. In addition to the committee members from the regular faculty, the candidacy committee also includes the department's Executive Officer (David Reid) and is further assisted by the Graduate Affairs Administrator (Amy Schultz). Please review our candidacy page for more details.

Colloquium Committee

The entire Colloquium Committee is responsible for choosing a balanced, high quality series of colloquia for all three quarters of the academic year. The Chairman of the Colloquium Committee shall take primary responsibility for coordinating the dates of the invitations.

Colloquia are held every Thursday during the full 10 weeks of each quarter (except for Thanksgiving). Colloquia should not be scheduled for finals week, except when unusual opportunities arise, e.g., when an honorary degree recipient is available.

The Committee should meet in the Spring Quarter of the prior academic year to plan the series of colloquia and to nominate a Zachariasen Lecturer, who normally will give one of the Autumn Quarter colloquia. The invitation for the Zachariasen Lecturer will be sent by the Department Chair; the other colloquia invitations will be sent by members of the Committee.

The Physics Department has budgeted $5,500 per quarter for the colloquia to cover all of the travel and living expenses for the speakers. All reasonable expenses of the speakers will be reimbursed, but no honoraria are offered (except for the Zachariasen Lecturer). The member of the Colloquium Committee who serves as the primary host of the speaker is welcome to charge a lunch or dinner to the Physics Department while entertaining the speaker, but normally no other Committee entertainment expenses will be reimbursed. The Department Chair should be notified immediately if it appears that the colloquium budget for any quarter will be exceeded.

Reservations for colloquia speakers' accommodations have been made at the Quadrangle Club for each Wednesday and Thursday night throughout the academic year. This avoids the problems which used to arise when we weren't able to get rooms because of receiving speakers' travel plans too late. When you discuss arrangements with speakers, please ask that they inform you of their lodging requirements as soon as possible and at least ten days before a colloquium. Pass this information on to Shadla Cycholl, and she will cancel unnecessary reservations. A room canceled with less than 48 hours' notice will be charged to the Department if the Quad Club cannot book it. Please don't make changes through your office--this has led to confusion in the past. For the information of your speakers, the Quad Club is located at 1155 East 57th Street; the phone number is 773-702-2550.

Please e-mail a list of speakers, affiliations, email addresses, titles, and hosts as early as possible to Shadla Cycholl (, and keep her informed of additions and changes as they occur.

Friday Lectures Committee

The Friday Lectures are intended to be informal discussions/lectures on current research activities targeted to our first-year graduate students and upper-level undergraduates. The purpose of this series is to inform our students about the vast array of the research that is going around them. While this series has also proven to be a good stepping stone for many students looking to get involved in research, student recruitment is not the primary goal of these Friday afternoon meetings.

The (typically two) faculty members assigned to the Friday Lectures is charged with the responsibility of making sure that the available dates are booked starting in the autumn quarter (October) until all (or most) of the research areas have been represented. It is expected that the vast majority of these meetings will be led by faculty members of the department of physics; however, researcher groups from allied departments and institutes are welcome. The Friday lectures committee is assisted by the Executive Officer (David Reid), the Assistant to the Chair (Shadla Cycholl), and the Lecture Demonstrator (Joshua Ernst).

Admissions Committee

The admissions committee handles the admission, and usually also the recruiting, of graduate students for the following academic year. The committee members evaluate hundreds of applications for admission and decides, by March 15th, who to admit and what financial package (of the available fellowships and assistantships) to offer. After the offers of admission are completed, the committee then focuses its efforts on the recruitment of the admitted applicants which reaches its peak with the annual Open House held in late March or early April and concludes with the April 15th deadline for students to notify departments of their decisions. The admissions committee is assisted by the Graduate Affairs Administrator (Amy Schulz), the department's Executive Officer (David Reid), and Dean of Students Office of the PSD. This committee also receives input from the Chair of the department on procedural and financial matters that may arise.

Graduate Student Recruiting Committee

This committee oversees the process of recruiting the students who have been admitted into our graduate program by the Admissions Committee.

Fellowships and Awards Committee

The fellowships committee is involved with helping to choose the recipients of several fellowships and prizes offered by the department. Some awards are decided by the committee alone and other awards are decided by the committee in consultation with other members of the department. Although this committee assignment is for the full academic year, most of the decisions are made during the spring quarter.

Forget the Year Party Advisor

Predominantly, the annual forget the year party is a student-run event. The tradition is that the work for putting this event together is handled almost exclusively by the second-year graduate students with some assistance from the Assistant to the Chair, Shadla Cycholl, to handle payment of the costs. The main role of the faculty adviser is to aid the student planners in getting the necessary permissions to do certain things (such as rent a university hall). This person may also help the students identify local suppliers where they can obtain any food, equipment, or entertainment they may wish to include.

SPS & GRE Advisor

The local chapter of the Society of Physics Students is predominantly a student-run organization. Depending on what kind of events or activities the organization decides to hold, they occasionally require the approval of a designated faculty adviser. The main role of the SPS faculty adviser is to provide this approval if needed.

As a service to our undergraduate students, every autumn quarter, the department offers an unofficial GRE preparation seminar called PHYS 990. This "course" is designed to be the final stage in a student's preparation for the final offering of the GRE subject test in physics. Typically, PHYS 990 consists of a partial review of some of the basic areas of physics usually covered on the exam, especially those subjects in which students tend to be weak or rusty. In addition to this review, students are also advised of certain tips and tricks that will help improve performance as well as 2 or 3 simulated practice exams.

The faculty adviser runs these sessions in late September and October until the final GRE subject test is held. The department usually pays for one graduate student assistant to help the faculty adviser. Plans for the next offering of PHYS 990 are usually made in time to be announced at the annual Grad School Forum held in late spring quarter.

Physics REU Program Committee

The physics department's REU program is run through MRSEC by Professor Sidney Nagel. The primary role of anyone else assigned to this committee is to assist them with the evaluation of applications and placement of students with research groups. Committee members may also be asked to help with aspects of running the program while the students are on campus and with preparing the application for renewal when the time comes. The Physics REU Program Committee is also assisted by the Department Executive Officer.

Education, Outreach, & Communication Committee

This committee is charged to to collect and document current activities and to advise the department on future opportunities. 

Alumni Relations Committee

This committee advises the department on issues related to alumni relations and oversees the content of the department's news letter.

Physics Department Climate Committee

The Department Climate Committee is charged with providing advice to the Chair and faculty on actions that will improve the Department environment for undergraduate and graduate students. They will focus particularly on issues related to underrepresented groups in the Department. They will take the lead in implementing actions endorsed by the faculty. The Climate Committee members will also serve as additional points of contact (in addition to the dept. chair, executive officer, and undergrad program chair) for students who need assistance addressing any sort of issue.

Bridge Program Committee

This committee oversees the department's graduate bridge program.

Graduate Review Chair

The graduate review chair is charged with overseeing the review process of graduate students near the end of their sixth year and beyond.

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