red Supported Site Boston University: Goals & Outcomes


  • Work to recruit more future physics teachers, mainly through the efforts of the Teacher-in-Residence (TIR), increasing visits by the TIR to physics classes and following up individually with interested students.
  • Work to increase the number of Learning Assistants (LAs) we draw from our pool of physics majors, and encourage the LA's to consider further teaching experiences and to consider teaching as a career.
  • Initiate a cultural transition in the physics department, to improve faculty attitudes toward (1) physics majors going into teaching careers and (2) PhysTEC program activities that provide training and experience in teaching generally and student-centered learning specifically.
  • Assess the effectiveness of pedagogical reforms, specifically the LA program and the pilot studio section we implemented to lay the groundwork for a large-scale studio implementation starting in Fall 2013.

Selected Outcomes

  • We have identified three sophomores (two in Physics and one in Engineering) as future physics teachers from Boston University.
  • We expanded the impact of the Learning Assistant (LA) program in the Department of Physics, both by targeting physics majors to become LA's, as well as by utilizing LA's in the advanced undergraduate physics courses. 25 different students served as physics LA's in 2012-13, up from 20 in 2011-12.
  • Our teacher-in-residence, Mark Greenman, reached out to undergraduate students about teaching, strengthened ties between Physics and the School of Education, and got the physics faculty to think more about teaching.
  • We made an impact in changing the culture within the Department of Physics, through (1) holding three Physics Teaching Lunches to discuss teaching-related issues, (2) continuing to build the LA program, (3) laying the foundation for a studio physics implementation in the algebra-based introductory physics sequence starting Fall 2013, (4) initiating discussions about increasing the number of majors, and (5) introducing a Physics teacher track for physics majors.
  • Eric Mazur of Harvard came to give a departmental colloquium in January, titled "The Scientific Approach to Teaching: Research as a Basis for Course Design".
  • We strengthened our connections with local physics teachers, by holding four on-campus meetings for teachers, through what we call the BU-PTN (Boston University Physics Teacher Network). Attendance for the four meetings was 29, 26, 29 and 28 participants, including teachers from 25 different school districts.
  • We have increased awareness about PhysTEC in New England, through presentations at the Fall and Spring meetings of the New England AAPT section.
  • Through our efforts, particularly those of PhysTEC co-PI Peter Garik, Boston University was awarded a Noyce Scholarship program for science teachers.