The University of Alabama (UA) is a comprehensive doctoral-level university consisting of 13 academic units, including Arts & Sciences, Education, and Engineering. It is the oldest and largest public institution in Alabama, with a Fall 2011 enrollment of 31,700. Student enrollment has grown 62% since fall 2002, and the university has set a goal of 35,000 by 2020. The student body consists of 83% undergraduate students, 15% graduate students, and 2% professional students.
The Department of Physics and Astronomy has undergone significant growth in declared undergraduate majors and awarded undergraduate degrees over the past several years, far above the overall growth rate of the university. There are currently 87 declared physics majors - a fourfold increase in the past six years. Fourteen degrees were awarded in the 2008-2009 academic year, 11 in 2009-2010, and 18 in 2010-2011. The undergraduate physics major is divided into four tracks: (1) graduate school, (2) astrophysics, (3) biophysics, and (4) education. Currently, two students are in the education track. The Department also offers a physics/engineering double major track, and a minor in physics and astronomy. The department itself consists of 27 tenure-track faculty, with research areas including high energy, astronomy/astrophysics, condensed matter, and molecular physics. There are approximately 45 graduate students, with about five PhDs awarded per year.
The PhysTEC project at UA is committed to the following goals:
Major components of the project include a Learning Assistants program; a Teacher in Residence; active recruitment within the university, community colleges, and high schools; continuing reform of introductory physics courses and development of new courses; and an induction program to mentor newly certified practicing teachers.
PhysTEC students at UA will gain early teaching experiences through the school's partnership with Alabama Science in Motion, a statewide program that provides high-tech laboratory equipment and experiences to poorly supplied science classrooms, as well as professional development for secondary science teachers.
Brochure: Alabama PhysTEC Program