University of Minnesota Project Report 2009
Collaboration among the Institute of Technology, College of Education and Human Development, University Administrators, and Local Public School Systems
- The PhysTEC team at the university was composed of an outstanding group of faculty from the School of Physics and Astronomy (SPA), Post-Secondary Teaching and Learning (PSTL), College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) and area high schools. The commitment of each individual involved was critical to the success of the first two years.
- We have a cohort of 12 area science teachers who are willing to serve as mentors to our prospective science teachers and host them for field experiences in our courses. They are members of the Teacher Advisory Group (TAG).
- The Physics Force, a physics demo road show, has provided a strong connection between the physics department and local schools, and teachers involved in this program have made excellent Teachers In Residence (TIRs).
- The PACES program, an outreach group from the physics department composed of Physics Force members, has provided opportunities for future physics teachers to participate in the program in local schools.
- Faculty in CEHD, in addition to the two who are formally involved with PhysTEC, have provided important support in the process of grant-writing for continued funding for PhysTEC activities.
- Coordination of schedules for bi-weekly meeting of PhysTEC committee often proved difficult. It is imperative that members make this meeting time a priority and that the meeting be conducted such that it is a productive use of people’s time.
- Issues related to differences in budgetary situations between IT and CEHD can complicate coordination of programs.
- To continue building the bridge between the university and area high school physics teachers we have begun the process of offering two physics courses through the “College in the Schools” program (CIS). The non-calculus based Introductory Physics would be offered through the School of Physics and Astronomy. The non-math based Physics by Inquiry would be offered by the school for Post Secondary Teaching and Learning. It is intended that future physics teaching graduates will be prepared to teach for CIS and a career-long link will be sustained between these teachers and the university. These teachers will also be a growing cohort of mentors for future teachers.
- The experience of the Teacher in Residence helped provide knowledgeable guidance to the LAs as well as realistic and tested approaches to course reform in both the introductory physics course and the PET course.
- To build our Teacher Advisory Group (TAG) we have relied on the science teachers involved in the existing outreach programs in the SPA. It is intended that as the number of students with a teaching emphasis grows the cohort will continue to expand.
- CEHD began a new program, DirecTrack to Teaching, in fall of 2008. DirecTrack allows students to begin taking CEHD course as undergraduates. It is intended that LAs returning for a third semester will be enrolled in the DirecTrack program.
- The TIR and Project PI have attended meetings with staff, administrators and faculty in the Institute of Technology to develop new grants and to coordinate activities.