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Vision and Values - Physics, Photonics and Optical Engineering


The faculty and staff in the Bridgewater State University Department of Physics, Photonics and Optical Engineering (PPOE) are equally committed to providing the highest level of academic and experiential training in physics and engineering and promoting an inclusive and diverse community in our department. We want you to feel welcome and bring your unique backgrounds and perspectives to the classroom and research spaces. We work to improve the culture of physics in order to equalize opportunity and to build a sense of belonging for all people from all identities.

We acknowledge that there is a lack of diversity in physics, and our department is committed to taking the necessary steps to rectify this issue. We will do this by pursuing equally high achievement for all students, including students from groups that have been historically excluded, hidden or discouraged to pursue physics. These student groups include, but are not limited to, women, African Americans, Latinx Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, international students of all origins, members of the LGBTQ+ community, neurodiverse students, and people with disabilities. We recognize that intersectionality creates a unique set of challenges for some, and the Department pledges to help you find the right supports and opportunities to be successful.



Each student brings their own distinct strengths, experiences and perspectives, which enrich and inform their academic lives and those around them. We believe in supporting you as a whole person, incorporating diverse types of learning experiences both inside and outside the classroom.

Access and Inclusion

We commit to continuously preparing, inviting and welcoming people to an environment where all can thrive at the University and beyond. It is important to us that the voice of every student, staff and faculty member is recognized and heard. It is critical that you and all other students should have access to the academic and personal support needed to achieve your goals. This includes access to department spaces, resources and organizations, the chance to participate in mentored research, opportunities for internship placement, and support when applying to further your career in graduate school, employment or summer research experiences. Every student in our department participates in high-impact experiences.


We commit to creating a department where students from all backgrounds achieve equally high successes. We will examine whether students of different identities are equally likely to find good jobs upon graduation, are equally likely to attend graduate school, and are equally likely to take internships, conduct undergraduate research or graduate with honors. If we find systemic differences in achievement, we will take responsibility to improve teaching, create better advising or other practices, or develop more inclusive environments to reduce those differences.


We encourage our students to develop meaningful relationships with faculty, staff and fellow students in the department. We believe we are strongest when we support each other professionally and personally, tackling problems as a team and celebrating each other’s successes.

  • Our introductory courses have PALs: peer-assist leaders who help to support your success.
  • Our department’s chapter of the Society of Physics Students hosts a guest speaker series to which all are invited in the department and beyond.
  • We host physics department socials at which everyone has the chance to speak about their work and enjoy each other’s company informally.
  • Outreach events build connections with the regional community and between the students, faculty and staff who participate in them.

We commit to continually seeking and reflecting upon feedback in the form of data and individuals’ stories to affect positive change in our department’s environment and culture. Stories are collected via easily accessible online forms which undergo an initial review by three members of the APS IDEA Team. To help the community assess our culture, each semester outside moderators will lead sessions where we share themes and examples from these stories with student and faculty/staff groups.


We engage in continuous individual and institutional reflection and collaboration to build capacity and integrate what we learn into our culture and infrastructure. We recognize that achieving inclusive excellence will require long, steady work but anticipate concrete steps each year to be a better place.

Read BSU’s signed values statement on equality for all »

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Visit the Office of Equal Opportunity and the Title IX Coordinator for more information about affirmative action, equal opportunity, disability compliance and Title IX initiatives at BSU.

The BSU APS-IDEA group is committed to addressing institutional racism. For information about joining this group, or its activities, please contact the department chair. The BSU APS-IDEA group is part of a national movement within the American Physical Society, a nonprofit membership organization working to advance the knowledge of physics.