Assistant Department Chair, Physics and Engineering
We currently have two different tracks for physics education. The first is our traditional undergraduate track that offers a physics degree and minor in education. The 2nd is a graduate level alternative certification program for students who are returning from the workforce to become high school science teachers. Both of these tracks are now supported by our BEST (Benedictine Educating STEM Teachers) program which is funded in part by the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program. The BEST program allows us to offer $10,000 grants to student pursuing physics education degrees.
Over the last four years we have had 17 teachers from our programs. Currently the alternative certification program produces most of our graduates. Our goal over the next 3 years is to increase the number of teachers from our undergraduate program by 2-3/year.
To help students become effective teachers we offer many learning opportunities in and out of the classroom. Students can work as teaching assistants in our introductory courses, tutors, or in outreach events sponsored by our local Society of Physics student clubs. The teaching assistants are embedded in our introductory courses helping with the lectures and also participate in a seminar that covers current teaching methods. There are also summer research opportunities in physics and physics education.