PhysTEC Project Contacts
California State University San Marcos (CSUSM)
Department of Physics
Science Hall 2, Room 213
333 S.Twin Oaks Valley Rd.
San Marcos, CA 92096
Established in 1989, California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) is an emerging and maturing regional-comprehensive university that enrolls almost 9,000 undergraduates and over 500 graduate or credential students. Palomar Community College (Palomar) is less than two miles from CSUSM, serves roughly 30,000 total students, and is a major source of transfer students to CSUSM.
CSUSM is a culturally and ethnically diverse university that is representative of its surrounding region. According to the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), Hispanics comprise 32% of the population in the North San Diego County Major Statistical Area. CSUSM has been designated as both an Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) by the Department of Education.
CSUSM’s exisiting strengths include an existing single subject credential program, capacity for additional physics credential candidates, synergistic programs in the College of Education (COE), a thriving Learning Assistant program, a growing physics department with physics education research expertise, and collaborative ties between physics and COE. Despite these strengths, the PIs’ self-identified a number of missing elements required for a comprehensive approach to recruiting, preparing, and supporting qualified physics teachers: (1) lack of a Physics Education program; (2) lack of coordinated recruiting efforts; and (3) lack of interaction with local high schools/teachers.
PhysTEC project activities will build on the existing strengths to create a comprehensive physics teacher recruiting and preparation program that will include curricular/programmatic support, early teaching experiences, and induction/mentoring. CSUSM and Palomar students will learn about physics teaching opportunities at recruiting events and from other students; physics teaching will become a well-known and well-regarded career option. Talented physics students will serve as LAs at CSUSM and Palomar, improving those courses while simultaneously exploring their own interests in teaching. A group of cooperating local high school physics teachers will facilitate early teaching experiences for undergraduate students. Students in the Physics Education Option of the Applied Physics degree will take courses on teaching and learning physics and complete the prerequisite courses for the COE single subject credential program. Physics Education students, credential students, induction teachers, and cooperating (experienced) teachers will form a professional learning community to inform and support each other.