Teacher preparation programs will have a significant impact on the number of well-prepared physics teachers in classrooms around the country only if they are incorporated into departmental infrastructure, and do not simply depend on the volunteer effort of a small number of dedicated faculty members. Physics departments and university administrations must buy into the idea that they share some of the responsibility for addressing the nation’s teacher shortage. Ultimately, sustainability depends on whether an institution is willing to devote substantial resources, in the form of faculty time, academic credit, and course reform support, to preparing the next generation of physics teachers.
While the PhysTEC project has produced some impressive successes, they will do little to address the long-term issues of teacher shortages and teacher quality if they do not live on beyond the lifetime of external funding. Therefore, the project has sought to catalyze systemic, long-term change at the departmental and institutional level. PhysTEC faculty have succeeded in making permanent many of the initiatives originally supported by PhysTEC, and they now serve as models of change for departments and institutions around the country that are seeking to improve their teacher preparation programs.