Member Institution University of Nebraska-Lincoln
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Daniel R. Claes
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Physics has had 10 new UNL faculty participate in the APS/AAPT New Physics Faculty Workshop since its inception. This has meant the Physics Department's youngest members have been enthusiastic supporters of research-based pedagogy from the very start. This has already started to influence the practices of even some of our senior faculty (interactive "peer instruction" is in widespread use in the department, and the physics department pioneered the use of the personal response "clickers" now in use across the entire campus). In small numbers, faculty have also been building relationships with regional high school physics teachers. Our CROP project has been working with Nebraska high school teachers (and some pre-service teachers at UNL) for almost a decade, providing social and professional connections for severely isolated rural science teachers. For five years UNL's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) has placed high school teachers in physics, engineering, and chemistry laboratories across campus through its Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program. The department is just starting to realize that we offer far too little for Nebraska teachers interested in working on their Masters degree, and we are recognizing this as an obligation to both the state and our field. Since our success as a department, and indeed our sole reason for existing, depends crucially on a pipeline of interested and enthusiastic students, we will build on this sense of obligation and expand phyics efforts for pre-service and in-service instruction. Our recruitment efforts are targeted through our high school teacher contacts, the research opporutnities offered to teachers as well as students.