Physics-Education Faculty Collaboration Strategies
Arrange for science teaching methods courses to count towards both a physics degree and teacher certification. A key indicator of successful collaboration between physics departments and education schools is the degree to which each is willing to award course credit for a course offered in the other department.
- At Arkansas, physics teaching methods classes are cross-listed in physics and education course catalogs, and are “strongly recommended by the College of Education for entering science and math Masters of Arts in Teaching students.” In addition, the elementary physical science methods course is now required for all elementary education majors.
- At Arizona, science teacher preparation is done entirely within the College of Science; however, an education faculty member teaches a science methods course every semester.
- At Colorado, the pedagogy course that all Learning Assistants take – the Mathematics and Science Education Seminar – is taught by an education faculty member and a former Teacher in Residence. PhysTEC faculty are in the process of submitting it as a regular course for credit towards a physics degree.
- At Seattle Pacific, a faculty member with a joint appointment in physics and education teaches methods courses for future teachers and physics courses for nonmajors.
Use a Master Teacher as a bridge between your physics department and education school. As someone skilled and trained in both physics and teaching, a Master Teacher within the program is a natural liaison between physics and education faculty.
- The Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions has hired a former Teacher in Residence (TIR) as an instructor specializing in science education for elementary education majors. A PhysTEC faculty member reports that “her effectiveness in engaging the future elementary teachers inspired the education faculty preparing them to greatly increase their interaction with the physics faculty.”
- At Western Michigan and Seattle Pacific, TIRs and education faculty members have team-taught physics teaching methods courses, enabling the courses to directly address the unique challenges of physics teaching.
Form joint committees and working groups that include physics and education faculty, as well as faculty from other STEM departments, and university and school district administrators. Physics and education faculty can prepare joint grant proposals, form science education task forces, and serve on joint thesis committees.
- Physics and education faculty at Seattle Pacific have developed a Science Education Task Force that “is working to improve coherence and advising for science students who enter the certification process.”
- A Ball State Teacher in Residence brought together “community college faculty, Muncie Public School administrators, Ball State administrators, and community/vocational workforce representatives to attend state education (DOE) conferences on STEM education” and submit collaborative grant proposals.
- Colorado STEM and education faculty have put in a proposal to the National Science and Mathematics Initiative (NMSI), to transform the school’s teacher certification process and early field experience program.
- At Arkansas, physics and education faculty have collaborated on several science education grant proposals. In addition, physics faculty have served on College of Education search committees and PhD thesis committees, and education faculty have served on physics masters committees. Arizona reports similar achievements.
Collaborate on articles, presentations and workshops. Physics education research (PER) and physics teacher preparation unite the concerns of physics and education faculty members.
- Colorado’s PER group spans the Physics Department and Education School, and members write numerous articles and deliver numerous joint workshops and presentations, including a workshop for PTEC members on their Learning Assistant program.
- Physics and education faculty have worked together closely on the PhysTEC project at Western Michigan, and have given joint presentations at numerous national meetings.