Supported Site Virginia Tech: Recruitment

Successes

  • In the first year we recruited six PhysTEC students from among current or former physics majors at Virginia Tech. Five of these students graduated from the Masters of Education program in the second year, in May 2013. One of the students was a co-valedictorian of our Spring 2010 physics majors graduating class.
  • In the second year we recruited four new PhysTEC students. Two of these students entered the Masters of Education (MAED) program in Fall 2013. One of these students is a BS graduate from the Engineering School at Virginia Tech. One of these students will be doing the MAED program online.
  • In the third year we recruited six new PhysTEC students. Three of these students will enter the MAED program by Fall 2014.
  • In the first year we enlarged our physics major recruiting efforts to include University Studies (undeclared) students, and obtained fourteen additional majors. In the second year we recruited an additional eleven incoming physics majors, over the number entering the first year.
  • The undergraduate coordinator has included physics teaching and PhysTEC materials in the materials presented and distributed at high schools during her recruiting trips. These materials have been well received.
  • The first TIR, Alma Robinson, visited the high school where she was previously employed, as a recruitment trip.
  • The TIRs, Alma Robinson and then Mary Norris, and the PI, John Simonetti, and a Co-PI, Leo Piilonen, participated in a continuing series of campus visits by groups of perspective students (these visits are billed as a "Day in the Life of a Physics Major").

Challenges

  • It is important to utilize the faculty in the recruiting efforts within the department. We have succeeded somewhat in this regard, but more can be done.
  • Recruiting LAs is challenging, since many students have full schedules.
  • Obtaining money to recruit LAs is challenging. Offering course credit for being an LA may be less attractive in recruiting LAs.

Sustainability

  • Institutionalized courses providing early teaching experiences help to sustain the effort in recruiting physics teachers.
  • The Learning Assistant program has helped to enlarge and sustain the recruiting effort.

Lessons Learned

  • Repeating the message at various times throughout the academic year and in various ways can help in recruiting.
  • Providing early teaching experiences that excite physics students will help in recruiting teachers as the word spreads among the majors.
  • Providing LA stipends/pay may help with recruiting LAs.

Activities

  • The TIRs made presentations in classes.
  • We held pizza parties with presentations and discussions of teaching.
  • Guest speaker were recruited for programs outside classes (for students and faculty).
  • Discussions took place between the undergraduate coordinator and individual students, about teaching as a career option.
  • Discussions took place between the PhysTEC faculty and individual students about teaching as a career option, at all levels of the undergraduate experience.