Department Contact Information

Physics Department

Location: 180-204
Phone: (805) 756-2448
Fax: (805) 756-2435
Chair: Jennifer Klay

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Department Mission and Vision

The faculty and staff of the Cal Poly Physics Department are dedicated to serving undergraduate students, who are at the center of everything that we do.


The mission of the Cal Poly Physics Department is to:

  • Provide high-quality and inclusive undergraduate-level instruction for all students taking courses taught by our faculty
  • Emphasize advanced laboratory experiences for students pursuing physics degrees and minors in physics/geology/astronomy in accordance with our learn-by-doing philosophy
  • Provide students pursuing physics degrees, minors in physics, geology and astronomy, and when possible, students from other majors, with authentic senior projects and equitable opportunities for professional-level research in areas aligned with our faculty’s expertise and interdisciplinary interests
  • Contribute to the creation of new knowledge through scholarship


The Cal Poly Physics Department seeks to:

  • Provide quality in- and out-of-class faculty-student interactions and increase their positive impact guided by the use of data on the student learning experience
  • Build a reputation as a nationally recognized undergraduate physics department that provides formative student research experiences
  • Maintain our status as a national leader in preparing graduates to successfully transition into graduate school, industry, teaching, or government, according to their career goals
  • Build a reputation as a department that supports both tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty in honing their professional skills as they pursue their career goals
  • Achieve a student population of majors that reflects the demographics of the state of California, and help them to thrive by providing equitable opportunities and learning environments


While supporting our mission and pursuing our vision, we seek to create an inclusive and equitable environment that fosters and celebrates individual and collective growth and development, in which every member of our community is supported, so that all of our students, faculty, and staff have the opportunity to:

  • Grow professionally in ways that serve both personal aspirations and communal goals
  • Grow personally in ways that respect work-life balance
  • Develop the competencies needed to live and work in a diverse, global, and sustainable society


We strive to create an environment where you can bring your whole self to classes, research, mentoring, and life in the Cal Poly Physics Department. As faculty and staff, we are trying to educate ourselves in how to do this by receiving training from the Office of Diversity and Inclusivity on campus, and engaging in discussions and actions through the work of the department and college Diversity and Inclusivity committees. There is always more to be done, and we are dedicated to creating the change needed in our department to truly make each of you feel that you have a place here. We are a member institution of the APS-IDEA network, which is teaching us best practices in making our department inclusive and diverse.

We welcome and rely on your input in our department decision-making. You can let us know if you see or feel anything that is wrong, or share any ideas you have for improvement by contacting the Diversity and Inclusivity Committee chair (Dave Mitchell, and our department chair Jennifer Klay (

There are also several student groups with officers who are in regular communication with faculty. The Minorities in Physics club (, the Women in Physics Club (, and the SPS (, which you can find more about in Student Resources (scroll to Clubs and Social Life).

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APS - Inclusivity, Diversity & Equity Alliance

APD-IDEA web badge

Cal Poly Physics joins APS Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance