Cornell University Project Report 2009
- The Cornell Teacher Education Program has had larger attendance at its Information sessions, with roughly 1/3 of attendees learning of the sessions through advertising within the Physics Department, especially in our introductory physics courses.
- Six UTAs enrolled in Education courses in Fall 2009.
- All students in introductory and core physics courses, as well as all Physics graduate students, are now aware of physics teaching as a career option, and where to go to obtain more information.
- Collaboration with two Cornell MBA students from the Johnson School of Management yielded the "This is Physics" marketing campaign concept.
- Excellent posters and brochures provided by PhysTEC advertising Noyce Fellowships and direct contact by the PI and TIR yielded two successful applicants.
- We continue to develop our PhysTEC site, focusing on recruiting students into physics and physics teaching. A web designer will be improving the site’s look and feel in Summer/Fall 2009.
- The largest pool of potential "new recruits" is students majoring in the life sciences, chemical sciences and in engineering. We need to find approaches to reach these students outside of our introductory physics courses, and as early in their academic careers as possible. Many life science students do not take physics until their junior year, when it is difficult to make program adjustments to include teaching courses.
- Extensive summer and academic year research opportunities for our undergraduates attract students – including those interested in teaching – toward research careers. We have proposed a PhysTEC Teaching Experience for Undergraduates (TEU) program to counteract this pull away from teaching and provide more opportunities for undergraduates to explore their teaching interests.
- Slides, presentations and posters created can be reused in subsequent years with minimal revisions.
- We have migrated our website to Drupal, an open source content management system, which provides an easy and free way for multiple people to be involved in the site design and upkeep.
- The key parts of recruiting are (1) building relationships with students and (2) changing the attitudes of faculty, graduate TAs and our undergraduates toward careers in secondary science teaching. Flashy websites and posters serve an important function, but it is the personal relationships with students and faculty that have the greatest impact.
- The PI and TIR made presentations to graduate teaching assistants and faculty at course meetings for nearly all of the introductory physics courses. Topics discussed included the need for more physics majors and more physics teachers, instructional approaches that encourage students to become majors, and the PhysTEC program and its goals.
- Revised the Physics Department's course catalog entry and its website to encourage students with broader interests to consider the physics major.
- Surveyed students in introductory physics courses about their attitudes toward careers in high school teaching.
- Advertised high school physics teaching and Cornell's MAT program in introductory physics courses, in emails to physics majors, and at career information sessions for physics majors.
- Developing recruiting website and associated print marketing materials.
- "Tell Your Students … Consider Physics Teaching" presentations at the joint NYS APS & AAPT meeting at Cornell, and included in workshops given at the Science Teachers Association of NY State (STANYS), the Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association (PSTA), and other conferences.
- Met with Biological Sciences advising committee to request that they advertise the "outside concentrator" physics option to their students.
- Met with Cornell Career Services senior staff to discuss ways to promote careers in high school teaching.
- Met with undergraduate advising staff in Astronomy and Engineering to discuss opportunities in physics teaching for their undergraduate and graduate students.
- Made brief (~5 minute) presentations in all the introductory physics course lectures to raise awareness of the need for more physics teachers, how to ‘try out teaching,’ and where to get more information.