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2012 BFY Abstract Detail Page
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||How to fund a large-enrollment physics advanced lab.
||The equipment and operating cost per student for a physics advanced lab course dwarfs that for an introductory physics lab course because (a) the cost for equipment is much higher (10-100x), and (b) that cost is spread over a small group of physics majors rather than over a large population (10x) of students in other sciences and engineering. For very small-enrollment advanced lab courses, an instructor may be able to borrow existing research equipment, but in larger courses, this is not practical. Scavenging used equipment is another option, but can be a false economy if you count the time to recondition and maintain. It's easy to fall into the trap of applying band-aids to your band-aids until the lab course is unsustainable. We need to be realistic about projecting the true costs and to be creative in finding alternative funding sources. Resources to consider include (1) student lab fees, (2) government and private foundation grants for education, (3) education components of research grants, (4) corporate in-kind donations of equipment, (5) corporate cash donations, (6) alumni cash donations, (7) alumni volunteering time, (8) student internships to build/improve experiments. The mix of sources to tap depends a lot on the nature of your program and other local factors. We'll discuss pros and cons of each of these sources and share ideas for increasing the resources we all need to keep our lab courses strong.
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