James D. White
Book Professor and Chair of Physics
Over the past five years, Juniata has graduated five students that have certification in Physics from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. We also have graduated almost as many students that have gone on to teach without certification from their undergraduate degree. But we are not satisfied with this number of students. Our latest outside review of our education program by the PA Department to Education praised the Physics Education program and the high level of support and training that students receive from the physics department.
Not only is the science education program at Juniata College very strong, but so is the opportunities within the physics department. Juniata's Society of Physics Student chapter has received the Outstanding Chapter award for our Zone for the past ten years in a row. They are active in outreach programs.
With major input from the physics department, the President of Juniata College has developed a strategic plan for the college. One item in this plan is to double the number of students that are graduating with secondary teaching certification in one of the science subject areas. The physics department wishes to go a step further and increase the average to three a year.
The physics department (as well as the college as a whole) is in the initial stages of planning and implementing strategies to meet this goal. These strategies include enrollment efforts directed at science education, developing a course for freshman physics students (i.e. a smaller class without all the chemistry and bio-chemistry upper classman) with class design directly developed based on Physics Education Research results, as well as involving students in physics and physics education research in their freshman year. The department will continue the close collaboration with the secondary science education professor. (Remember we are a small school...so there is only one education professor whose specialty is science...and only two professors who have taught high school science...the science education professor and me.)
PTEC membership will allow us to draw on expertise in this area from other PTEC members.