Supported Site University of Alabama: Collaboration

Successes

  • PhysTEC faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) were successful in obtaining funding for an NSF-Math and Science Partnership grant (APEX) which will provide ten two-year scholarships to PhysTEC students. The APEX project also involves a strong collaboration with Alabama Science in Motion.
  • PhysTEC faculty in physics and C&I, along with a chemistry faculty member, successfully conducted a state-funded series of in-service workshops (PS-21) for physical science teachers.
  • C&I, physics, and chemistry faculty submitted an NSF-Noyce proposal. The proposal involves collaboration with community colleges and local school districts.
  • A joint presentation was made by physics and C&I PhysTEC faculty at the Alabama AAPT meeting.
  • One of the physics PhysTEC faculty members serves on doctoral student committees in C&I.
  • PhysTEC and ASIM have collaborated in teaching high school physics lab courses.

Challenges

  • Faculty, departments, and colleges are often protective of the status quo. They can be resistive to curricular and programmatic changes that could potentially result in increased productivity and better preparation of secondary STEM teachers.

Sustainability

  • Faculty from C&I and A&S are working together to obtain large multiyear educational grants.
  • Faculty from C&I and A&S are exploring alternative certification paths, including dual certification and UTeach.

Lessons Learned

  • Success breeds success. Successful collaborative grants are very effective in increasing support of departments, faculty colleagues, and administrators.
  • Successful collaboration involves emphasizing the advantages of working together while recognizing and accepting differences.

Activities

  • Physics and C&I faculty have collaborated on the implementation and operation of the PhysTEC program.
  • The NSF-MSP APEX program was funded and is ongoing.
  • Faculty from C&I, physics, and chemistry collaborated on the PS-21 in-service project during the 2012-13 academic year.
  • C&I and A&S faculty have been collaborating on submitting other large proposals such as NSF-Noyce.
  • A physics faculty member has been serving on C&I doctoral student committees.