The main educational goal of CFM is to educate and cross-train the next generation of materials scientists to work at the intersections between materials modeling, synthesis, processing, and characterization.

Materials Science Major/Minor

One goal of the CFM is to establish a Materials Science Major at WFU. This Materials Science Major is designed to explicitly cross-train students, not only through its choices of required classes, but also through a requirement for co-advising students by two different center members from two different sub-fields of materials science. Before establishing the Major, we will pursue a cost-neutral Materials Science Minor.

First-Year Seminar

The center also provides a first-year seminar entitled It’s a Materials World to expose freshman to the fascinating world of materials science. The course focuses on instilling an appreciation of the fact that everything around us is a material. The course is co-taught by the four core members at first and by other center members later as the center grows. At the moment, the course is under construction, but we hope to offer it soon.

Mentoring Program

The center will establish the corner stones of good mentoring through a mentoring program. In particular, the center members will be encouraged to fill in an Individual Development Plan (IDP) with all their group members, aligning the advisor’s and advisee’s goals, expectations, and responsibilities. Members and their undergraduate/graduate students are encouraged to work through the book A Ph.D. is not enough (Peter J. Feibelman, Addison- Wesley, New York 1993, online access through the WFU at, clarifying career options and expectations in the sciences; post docs should work through Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty ( Students and post docs within the center are encouraged to participate in the course PHY 789 Survival Skills for Scientists, which equips participants with the basics in mentoring, paper/fellowship/grant writing, networking, and giving talks. Undergraduate students are highly encouraged to write honors theses. Finally, for junior faculty we provide a grant-writing mentoring program.

Inter-Departmental Seminar Series

CFM organizes an inter-departmental seminar series, focusing on materials-science research. While the various departments have seminar series, their focus is rarely on materials science and exposure to materials modeling, synthesis, processing, and characterization is essential for all materials scientists.