2013-14 Unit Plan

Mission Statement

The Butte College Department of Physical Sciences provides quality educational programs within a student-centered environment. We offer complete lower division transfer programs for physical science (chemistry, geology, physics, physical science, meteorology and engineering) majors, as well as high-quality general education, program support (health professions including nursing, respiratory therapy and EMT) and preparatory classes that serve the needs of our community.

Program Description

The Department of Physical Sciences enjoys an excellent reputation within the campus community. The Chemistry, Engineering, Physics and Geology programs offer lower-division courses for science and engineering majors and the Physical Science program offers general education courses for all majors. Students that have been through our programs return on a regular basis to reflect on their experiences, and the sense of collegiality they felt while in our classes. This is also reflected in student evaluations. We have several faculty members that were former students and have wanted to come back to the department and give back some of what they received. We have worked with other departments (specifically Mathematics, Biology, and Computer Science) to create a student-friendly schedule with accessible offerings in a number of different formats. All chemistry classes, and many classes in other programs, tend to close before the end of registration with full waitlists, again reflecting a high degree of demand for our programs as well as a solid reputation for our courses. 

Our Geology program is quite strong considering we only have a single full-time instructor.  All five classes--both in fall and spring--currently close with full waitlists.  When administration requested we augment our schedule, we wanted to add geology classes, but our only part-time instructor who could cover it would have exceeded his maximum allowable load.  We would like to add more Physical Geology sections (GEOL 10 and 11; the lab is impacted) and bring Historical Geology (GEOL 20 and 21) into the schedule to complete the lower division coursework for Geology transfer majors.

Future Development Strategy

Strategy 1

The Geology program needs permission to add to the schedule.  We would also like to hire one new full-time instructor.

  • Focusing on student success
  • Valuing a culture of learning
  • Enhancing an innovative, responsive, and accountable culture

  • Supporting Rationale
    Not too long ago, the program had two full-time instructors.  Geologists are flexible in that they can teach the physical science courses as well as geology.  Since both phsyical science and geology are poised to grow, we could easily offer a second full-time instructor a full load. 

    Supporting Rationale Alignment
  • Maintaining core programs and services
  • Increasing student success
  • Maintaining the appropriate program and service mix between the main campus and outlying centers
  • Required Resources

    The major resource we need is additional space.  The college already has a new science builiding in the state queue, but this project was shelved when the financial crisis hit in 2008.  That building is designed for both the Physical Sciences and the Biology departments.  An alternative is for the Physical Sciences department to refurbish the Automotive building and and turn all or part of it into dedicated lecture and laboratory space.  If a new location can be found for the MESA program offices, that space could also be converted into lecture rooms or labs.  The large lecture hall (PS-131) also needs to have the chairs replaced.

    In addition to space, we have ongoing needs to update and replace laboratory equipment and demonstration apparatus.   

    Current Revenue Stream

    Program Supply & Equipment: $643

    Augmentation Requests

    Original Priority Funded Program, Unit, Area Resource Type Description Account Number Object Code One-Time Augment Ongoing Augment Supporting Rationale
    1 Yes All Facilities New Building $30,000,000.00 $0.00 All of our programs need additional space.
    2 Yes All Facilities Automotive Building $1,500,000.00 $0.00 If the state does not approve a new science building, the next best solution is to refurbish the Automotive building into lecture and laboratory space.
    3 Yes All Facilities MESA Offices $50,000.00 $0.00 The MESA offices occupy one entire side of the Physical Sciences building. If we could move MESA into a different building--but one that is still proximate to ours--we could recapture that space and turn it into a lecture room, or a lecture/laboratory combination.
    4 Yes All Equipment New Chairs $50,000.00 $0.00 The table and chair arrangement in the large lecture hall PS-131 is not ideal. By replacing with new tables and chairs, we can increase the number of seats without adversely affecting pedagogy or safety.
    Total(s) $31,600,000.00 $0.00