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Promoting Instructional Change in New Faculty: An Evaluation of the Physics and Astronomy New Faculty Workshop Documents

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Promoting Instructional Change in New Faculty: An Evaluation of the Physics and Astronomy New Faculty Workshop 

written by Charles R. Henderson

An important finding of Physics Education Research (PER) is that traditional, transmission-based instructional approaches are generally not effective in promoting meaningful student learning. Instead, PER advocates that physics be taught using more interactive instructional methods. Although the research base and corresponding pedagogies and strategies are well-documented and widely available to physics faculty, widespread change in physics teaching at the college level has yet to occur. Since 1996, the Workshop for New Physics and Astronomy Faculty has been working to address this problem. This workshop, jointly administered by the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Astronomical Society, and the American Physical Society with funding from the National Science Foundation, has attracted approximately 25% of all new physics and astronomy faculty each year to an intensive 4-day workshop designed to introduce new faculty to PER-based instructional ideas and materials. This paper describes the impact of the New Faculty Workshop as measured by web-based surveys of 527 workshop participants and 206 physics and astronomy department chairs. Results indicate that the NFW is quite successful in meeting its goals and that it may be significantly contributing to the spread and acceptance of PER and PER-based instructional ideas and materials.

Published November 12, 2007
Last Modified December 1, 2010

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