Member Institution University of California-Davis
University of California-Davis
Department of Physics
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The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) is a large, comprehensive public university located in the state’s Central Valley, a region where highly qualified teachers of physical science are in especially short supply. To help meet the needs of the state and the region, the campus has established a Mathematics and Science Teaching (MAST) program as part of the UC CalTeach Science and Mathematics Initiative and provides it with an annual budget of almost $250,000 for instruction and instructional support. The MAST program uses master teachers to provide students with early teaching experiences through three seminars that have concurrent field work in elementary, middle school, and high school classrooms. The program has also established a protocol for recruiting and advising prospective teachers and currently serves 400-500 students per year; however, very few physics teachers graduate from the program.
The UC Davis Department of Physics has an active Physics Education Research (PER) group, and has carried out a number of PER-based reforms on its undergraduate curriculum. These include reforming its introductory physics series for biology majors, and to a lesser extent the track for physics majors, as well as the TA training for these courses. The department is also planning to to add a teaching track to either its Physics or Applied Physics major, to capitalize on interest among its students in teaching.