Initial Career Paths of Physics Bachelor's with a Focus on High School Teaching
Prepared by the AIP Statistical Research Center
Here is a brief synopsis of the actions and efforts of the PhysTEC project and PTEC since 9 March 2006. If you have questions please contact the Project Manager, Victoria Kwasiborski or the Principal Investigator, Ted Hodapp (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Overall Project Activities
PTEC Conference. On March 24, 2006, the annual conference of the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PTEC) commenced at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas. A total of 90 conferees attended the conference, representing universities, two-year colleges, high schools, associations, and student populations. One-third of the conferees were from the greater community (outside of PTEC).
Over 400 feedback responses were submitted on all aspects of the conference. Across most groups, passing on ideas from workshops consistently rated higher than using ideas. The exception to this was among University Education Faculty, where the reverse generally held true. A special PET Workshop given by Fred Goldberg (San Diego State University) immediately following the conference was rated as the most useful workshop overall; Noah Finkelstein’s PhET Simulations (University of Colorado at Boulder) was rated as the most useful workshop of the PTEC Conference.
The 2007 PTEC Conference will be March 3 and 4, 2007 in Boulder, Colorado and is being hosted by the project at the University of Colorado (Noah Finkelstein, PI). The theme for next year’s conference will be “Recruitment.”
PhysTEC at National Meetings
PhysTEC Teacher Database. To assist in PhysTEC assessment efforts, the project has invited all PhysTEC teachers, and soon-to-be teachers who were influenced by the PhysTEC project to respond to a brief survey regarding teaching choices and teacher retention. All those who participate receive their choice of teaching resource materials, a one year membership to AAPT (including The Physics Teacher) or a one-year junior membership to APS. Data collected from this project will be used to inform the community of trends in PhysTEC teacher retention.
The project is also preparing a certificate (suitable for framing), signed by the presidents of each of the three societies in honor of their completion of a PhysTEC course of study. We hope to have these out to all of the teachers by mid-summer.
Project Website Updates.
The PhysTEC Management Team visited Ball State University, California Polytechnic State University, the University of Arizona, and Western Michigan University over the past quarter.
Ball State University. Warren Hein, Ted Hodapp, and Mary Fehrs visited Ball State University in February 2006. The department at Ball State has been very successful in producing high school physics teachers; they produce more than any other school in the state. Neil Anthony, this year’s TIR, is from the local community college and has been very active in many ways including establishing a teacher database within the Ball State PhysTEC project. A previous TIR, Mike Wolter, took an active leadership role in PhysTEC representing the TIRs on the Leadership Council for three years - stepping down just this spring. Mike also teaches at Ball State, a local community college and at his high school.
California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly). Mary Fehrs, Jack Hehn and Ted Hodapp visited Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for a site visit of the PhysTEC project in late April. Cal Poly is in the third of three years of funding, and has made significant gains in many areas. The program is running well, and has succeeded in institutionalizing many of the changes made under funding by PhysTEC. Some of the critical pieces that are now in place include the following (not all of which are due to PhysTEC funding):
In addition, the opportunity afforded by PhysTEC for Nancy and David has allowed them to step into a world where they can make the next logical step in enhancing teaching by helping to educate teachers. Establishing TIRs as leaders at the local, regional or national level provides not only an advancement for the TIR, but also for the appreciation by the organization (in this case Cal Poly) of the critical role teachers play in educating other teachers.
University of Arizona. Mary Fehrs, Jack Hehn and Ted Hodapp visited the University of Arizona to assess the progress of the development of the College of Science Teacher Prep Program over the course of five years-PPI Lead Ingrid Novodvorsky has been appointed the Director of the program. The impact of PhysTEC over five years has been substantial. The program of science teacher preparation seems quite good; there is a strong desire for increased recruitment efforts in physics so that physics majors/minor can take advantage of the program offered
The quality of interactions with the students (future teachers) was also a highlight of the visit. The students expressed feelings of deep appreciation for the program, the match between their aspirations for their future and the values received from and supported by their learning environment, and the interactions with the COS TPP faculty and staff. The students are highly engaged in the activities both coursework and clinical, and they expressed gratitude for the intellectual challenges presented.
We recently learned that this year’s TIR, Julia Olsen, has been hired to become the Project Coordinator in the newly formed mentoring program for early-career science teachers. Congratulations to Julia and to Arizona for being able to bring Julia a little closer to their program!
Western Michigan University. Mary Fehrs, Warren Hein, Theodore Hodapp, and Victoria Kwasiborski visited the Western Michigan project in February and observed a number of aspects of the WMU program that are both innovative and successful:
In addition, Drew Isola, WMU’s TIR this past year has accepted the office of TIR representative to the PhysTEC Leadership Council. The Leadership Council interacts with and help shape policy that the project is implementing. It is composed of the leaders of each site plus an education representative (Marcia Fetters) and one TIR. Thanks to Drew for offering to help in this way.
Upcoming Project Meetings
Coalition List Transition . In April the members of the PTEC Coalition listserv were successfully transitioned to CTP-L, the listserv for AAPT’s Teacher Preparation Committee. List members now number about 350. This has already initiated a few new collaborations and increased the activity on the list.
Digital Library Update. Dan MacIsaac, our new Content Editor for the PTEC Digital Library effort (www.ptec.org), is currently recruiting graduate students at Buffalo State College to improve the library’s “holdings”. We are also hiring a summer intern, Ann Deml, a pre-service teacher at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. Ann will begin in June and work on both the PTEC and ComPADRE informal collection (www.PhysicsToGo.org). The PTEC portal should go live in mid May, although we will do some debugging of new tools we are introducing first before we transition the URL to the digital library. All of the current content on the PTEC site will be featured in the digital library, along with new tools and content. We are planning on a geographic map tool to allow easy location by teachers of RET (Research Experience for Teachers) sites as well as Coalition member institutions and other things relevant to pre-service teachers.
PTEC Brochure. An updated edition of the PTEC brochure became available in March. Please contact Victoria Kwasiborski (email@example.com) if you would like copies of the new brochure.
Forum on Education (FEd) Newsletter. Beginning with the Fall 2006 issue, John Stewart (University of Arkansas) will replace Chance Hoellwarth as Editor of the Teacher Preparation section of the FEd newsletter. To date, the newsletter has featured articles on Teacher Preparation programs at Ball State University, Illinois State University, Rutgers University, University of Arizona, University of Colorado at Boulder and University of Texas at Austin (UTeach). A special thanks to Chance as he heads off on Sabbatical for his help in establishing this venue for discussing the importance of teacher preparation.
New Coalition Members. The Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PTEC) welcomes Jacksonville State University, Kansas State University, Kennesaw State University, University of Minnesota, University of Nevada at Reno, University of North Carolina at Asheville and the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. Current PTEC membership is 41; the complete list of members can be viewed at www.ptec.org.
Another major development connecting the physics department with the area of teacher education is the appointment of a physics professor to the position of Interim Director of PARSEC (Pisgah Astronomical Research and Science Education Center.) PARSEC is an inter-institutional center of the University of North Carolina that promotes and coordinates usage of the facilities at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI). One of PARSEC’s objectives is to “ Develop and facilitate K-16 programs that include research by students and faculty, age-appropriate educational programs, science and technology outreach targeting women and minorities, workshops and seminars.” Workshops include professional development opportunities for teachers. See http://parsec.unca.edu/