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 December 13, 2006. If you have questions please contact the Project Manager, Gabe Popkin, or the Principal Investigator, Ted Hodapp.
The 2007 PTEC Conference in Boulder , Colorado took place on March 3 and 4, with two pre-conference workshops offered on March 2. Registration for the conference attendance had to be capped at the maximum available for the space (115) – a strong indication that increasing numbers of people and institutions are actively working to improve their teacher education programs. Workshop topics included strategies for recruiting specific groups such as engineers and women; the promotion of reformed teaching at the college level; varieties of early teaching experiences; and the mentoring of newly minted teachers. The two plenary speakers were Carl Wieman , Nobel Laureate and advocate for physics department involvement in physics instruction reform and the production of physics teachers, and Cherry Murray , vice president of APS and member of the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP), which authored the Rising above the Gathering Storm Report.
Presentation abstracts and presenter biographies are available on the PTEC website: www.ptec.org . Follow the link to the 2007 Conference.
The PTEC 2008 Conference will be held in Austin , Texas and co-hosted by the University of Texas at Austin . Please mark your calendars for February 29- March 2, 2008 . Updated information will be posted on the PTEC website and distributed through the listservs.
New PhysTEC Sites
The American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Institute of Physics are pleased to announce the addition of four new sites to the PhysTEC project.
The new set of PhysTEC sites was selected through a review process similar to that used by the National Science Foundation, with a two-stage application procedure and a panel of reviewers. The initial solicitation in October of 2006 resulted in 45 submissions to the first phase of the application review. We were delighted and a bit overwhelmed by the interest in this project – clearly physics and physical science teacher education is gaining momentum among institutions around the country. The initial group of applicants was narrowed to 12 institutions, 11 of which submitted the secondary application materials. The review panel selected four of these to be funded, and we are pleased to welcome these universities as the next set of Primary Program Institutions. The new PhysTEC sites are:
Cornell University , PPI Lead Robert Thorne. Cornell has implemented a number of changes in introductory physics education, and the success of the PI's redesigned pre-med physics course attests to the department's strong potential for and commitment to implementing course reforms. The Cornell proposal was a good mix of the big picture and the details, and there was a sense among the reviewers that there is a top-down motivation for change at the institution, which is a prerequisite for systemic reform. Overall the review panel felt that this could be a successful project with significant implications for other Tier 1 universities. Highlights of the PhysTEC project at Cornell include:
Florida International University , PPI Lead Laird Kramer. Florida International University (FIU) proposed a strong project that recognizes the importance of both increasing the number of teachers prepared to teach physics, and improving the quality of their early experiences. The project personnel have a record of demonstrated accomplishment in the field and growing interest in the subject of preparing teachers. The PhysTEC project at FIU grows out of and is aligned with a developing reform program at FIU led by individuals who are recognized in the physics community.
Highlights of the PhysTEC program at FIU include:
University of Minnesota , Twin Cities , PPI Lead Cynthia Cattell. The University of Minnesota is well positioned as a PhysTEC site with its history of excellence in Physics Education Research, its R1 status, its role as a leader in Minnesota education, and its long history of outreach to the community. Through these outreach efforts, the university has already identified teachers who are well qualified to become Teachers in Residence. Another strength of the program is that Minnesota allows prospective teacher until their junior year to decide to become certified, giving them great flexibility. Specific highlights of the PhysTEC project at Minnesota include:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill , PPI Lead Laurie McNeil. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has designed an excellent program for four-year physics teacher certification. All the elements PhysTEC describes as critical for a successful program have been included and integrated in their plan; for example, UNC's proposal to connect a new course on the learning and teaching of physics with the Learning Assistant experience teaching seemed especially worthwhile and well considered. And as in the Minnesota program, a UNC undergraduate need not make the decision to become a teacher upon entering college - the program allows for several points of entry. Specific highlights of the PhysTEC project at UNC include:
PhysTEC at the AAPT Winter Meeting. The following PhysTEC Members gave presentations or chaired sessions at the AAPT 2007 Winter Meeting in Seattle, Washington in January 2007.
Many resources that had already been catalogued have now been added to the online collection. The new editor is redesigning the site to better serve its users.
In the last quarter, consultant Ann Deml performed the following tasks on PTEC.org:
New Coalition Members. Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PTEC) now has 82 members, and the complete list of member institutions along with profiles is available online. We would like to welcome the institutions that have joined recently: