Supported Site Arizona State University: Collaboration

Collaboration among the Department of Physics, Teachers College, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Local Public School Systems

Successes

  • The major collaborative success of our first year of funding has been the creation of our new degree (B.S. Physics- Concentration in Secondary Education) with the help and support of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. This is a major step towards producing a great number of physics teachers. Collaborative work on this degree has continued throughout our second year of funding.
  • The Learning Assistant Program is expected to spread to other STEM fields within the University.
  • Physics Red Carpet Day, a collaboration between PhysTEC, the department, and local teachers, has been extremely successful in building a partnership between the university and physics teachers all around the state.

Challenges

  • We need to expand the support and collaboration between our project and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In our future years, we hope to gain full support from the College and from the University President.
  • Now that we have created a degree with the help of the Teachers College, we need to continue to build on that partnership.
  • We have started on creating a B.A. Physics- Concentration in Secondary Education, but the university requirements of the B.A. have made it tremendously difficult to achieve. Work on a Biophysics degree with a Secondary Education concentration has also proven to be difficult.
  • We are currently seeking greater support from surrounding businesses for funding that will contribute to the local awareness of the problems STEM fields are facing.

Sustainability

  • The Learning Assistant Program is already seen as a success, and will continue for years to come with the help of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and individual departments.
  • ASU PhysTEC team members meet every other week to ensure the program is on track at every level and to brainstorm new ideas for the future.

Lessons Learned

  • After our two years of funding we have concluded that collaboration between the Department of Physics and Teachers College is crucial in our goal to successfully encourage and promote physics teaching careers to undergraduate students.
  • Involving secondary education physics teachers into our program has elicited a variety of ideas that have already helped in changing the dynamic of the subject at the local high schools and at the University level.

Activities

  • We have sent out advertisements (brochures and letters) to surrounding community colleges to encourage their students to look into transferring to ASU's Department of Physics after they hear of the new opportunities we have introduced.
  • Bi-monthly meetings that include our PhysTEC team members that support a variety of departments (Department of Physics, Teachers College, Life Sciences).