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Supported SiteSupported Site Chicago State University: Collaboration


  • CSU has a number of relationships with the Two Year Colleges in Chicago. CSU has been working with Harold Washington College and Olive Harvey College for a number of years on our National Science Foundation Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement Grant. These colleges are pilot testing instructional materials, providing feedback, and collaborating on scholarly activities that are part of the project. Sabella completed a consulting position with Malcolm X College to aid in the renovation of a physics classroom and the development of instructional materials that focus on the interdisciplinary nature of the STEM fields. At the culmination of the position Sabella co-led a workshop with City College of Chicago (CCC) faculty (mostly from MXC) on inquiry-based physics activities. Two of the CCC faculty and one CCC student attended the 2013 PhysTEC Conference and presented work that focused on the CCC's.
  • CSU hosted a lunch at the end of the 2012 semester with CCC faculty mentors and PhysTEC fellows at Harold Washington College, Malcolm X College and CSU. This was an excellent opportunity to get together and chat about science education and it is something we would like to do more frequently in the future. In 2014, CC and CSU mentors and students met over pizza to chat about physics education. Eight people attended. The session was audiotaped.
  • The Teacher Immersion Institute has allowed us to develop a new relationship with Chicago area teachers and their high schools. The two teachers who co-taught the course, Jennie Passehl and Kara Weisenburger, are both co-authors on the paper on the TII published in the Physics Teacher Magazine. In addition Jennie and Kara presented work on the TII at the Chicago Section of the AAPT. These teachers were supported through PhysTEC to attend the 2012 national summer AAPT meeting and the 2013 PhysTEC meeting in Baltimore. We see this collaboration as a long-term collaboration and believe it warrants a significant investment. These teachers are beginning to see their role in teacher preparation as more and more important.
  • Visits are made each year to the Two Year Colleges and a presentation on the Noyce and PhysTEC Projects is conducted.
  • In 2014, Van Duzor interviewed TYC faculty about the collaboration. This work has led to a poster and we anticipate preparing a paper on the research into effective collaboration.


  • We are still working on collaborations with the College of Education. One idea, proposed in the PhysTEC proposal, was to begin Brown Bag Lunches that focus on informal discussion.
  • We have little knowledge of the different types of research that are occurring in the COE and need to make a greater effort to look for areas of overlap.
  • Recruiting from the City Colleges of Chicago has improved since our first year. We believe that CCC faculty are becoming more and more invested in the program and will begin to recruit more for us. They have recently asked for posters for their schools and have begun thinking about possible PhysTEC Fellows for the fall. CCC faculty have co-presented on their work as part of the project. Two CCC faculty are looking toward developing LA programs at their institutions.


  • We recently made the Teaching Immersion Course (3500) a more formal part of the secondary education option in physics. Students in the secondary education program are now required to take a Teaching Inquiry Physics Course (4500) or the Teaching Immersion Course as part of their degree. This provides a level of sustainability for the continued contributions of the teachers we work with.
  • We believe that because our collaborators are giving talks on the projects, are attending meetings representing the project, and are involved in grant proposals on physics education we have established a strong community of collaborators that will continue to work together and support science education.

Lessons Learned

  • In person meetings are very important to the project and we believe that we need to implement more opportunities to talk face to face.
  • Collaborators need to recognize the role they play in the effort and need to be invested in the project. We need to explore additional ways to generate collaborator investment.


  • Teacher Immersion course was revised and implemented a fourth time. Two in-service high school teachers, Jennifer Passehl and Kara Weisenburger, co-taught the course with Sabella and Van Duzor.
  • Invited Speakers in STEM education who presented at either the Noyce Scholar Seminar Series or the Excellence in Teaching Math and Science Symposium were advertised widely through the university with a special focus on Science, Math, and Education faculty.
  • We held a luncheon in 2012 and a pizza dinner in 2014 with the CCC and CSU PhysTEC Fellows and faculty.
  • Sabella led part of workshop on inquiry-based physics education with City College faculty. Two workshops were held in 2013 that involved the inservice Physics Teachers we work with.