Florida International University Project Report 2009
Collaboration among the College of Arts and Science, College of Education, and Miami-Dade County Public School (MDCPS)
- The collaboration between faculty in the Physics Department and the College of Education (CoE) is a strong and productive relationship. It is the source of several funded grant projects, including CHEPREO (the Center for High-Energy Physics Research and Education Outreach), FIU-SEAMS (FIU – Student Equity and Achievement in Math and Science, a Department of Education Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP) grant), two new proposed projects, FIU-GEMS (FIU – Get Educators in Math and Science, an NSF Noyce proposal), a new Howard Hughes Medical Institute proposal for extending FIU’s physics reform model into other disciplines, and an institutional Strategic Initiative aimed at housing cohesive, integrated STEM programs through a Mathematics and Science Learning Center.
- The collaborative efforts between Physics and CoE is serving as a model for discipline-based teacher education through partnerships between STEM disciplines and the College of Education.
- The Learning Assistant course, PHY 3012, was co-taught by Jorge Gibert (Physics Teacher in Residence), Eric Brewe (College of Education), and Laird Kramer (College of Arts & Sciences).
- The PhysTEC Teacher Advisory Group meets regularly, further strengthening ties with MDCPS.
- The Physics Department has hired David Brookes into the Department of Physics as a Physics Education Researcher, indicating continued support from the department.
- Establishing a permanent model for the ongoing hiring of Teachers In Residence continues to be a challenge. The negotiations have taken place at both the local school level and the district administration level. Economic crisis in the district as well as a large bureaucracy make it difficult to implement the intended model.
- Managing multiple projects involving collaboration across colleges requires additional administrative competence.
- It is necessary to ensure that faculty earn credit for co-teaching courses outside of their home college. This becomes more important as education programs have now moved into the College of Arts & Sciences
- Changes in administration at FIU and in the local school district continue to pose challenges in building alliances. New administrators need to be briefed on the collaboration and integrated into the efforts. In Fall 2008, there was a new district superintendent and a new interim dean in the College of Education. There is no indication as to the appointment of the COE dean for the upcoming year.
- We are building a framework through continued collaboration across the colleges. The framework is built with FIU’s future goals in mind (the so-called FIU @ FIFTY campaign that targets making FIU a top-10 urban public research institution by its fiftieth anniversary, in 2015). Seeds for sustainability are included in many endeavors, most notably in the efforts of reform of the secondary science and math education programs that will follow the science/math discipline degree with an integrated teaching certification track instituted by the PhysTEC project. These reforms are being included as the foundation of a future strategic initiative.
- Participation in PhysTEC has illustrated how the multidisciplinary, cross-college partnerships built on CHEPREO as well as partnerships with external PhysTEC projects pay off for the students and the program. These have resulted in better recruiting (from external and internal partners), early field experiences (from additional opportunities internally), and a better LA seminar (due to input from Colorado), to name a few. Current research in our community ecosystem is promising to provide insight into the nature of our model and the role that the physics education advocates play in its implementation.
- PhysTEC has laid significant groundwork for the continued success of the program. Weaving it within other projects, notably CHEPREO and the cross-college secondary education program reform, has provided substantial synergies that continue to blossom. An example is the use modeling in the curriculum, both as an example of inquiry learning and as a placement option for LA field experiences.