The 5+ Club Member InstitutionThe 5+ Club Member Institution The College of New Jersey

The College of New Jersey

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Nathan Magee
Paul Wiita

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During academic year 2013-2014, The College of New Jersey is proud to have graduated 8 students with certification credentials in secondary Physics in New Jersey. All 8 of these students were undergraduate physics majors at TCNJ, with 7 of them completing a baccalaureate “dual” major degree toward certification and 1 completing a B.S. degree in physics followed by a MAT degree in teaching. We are deeply committed to sustaining a strong and productive program in physics teacher education and we aim to help alleviate the severe shortage of highly qualified physics teachers in New Jersey and in the mid-Atlantic region.

A defined baccalaureate degree program in Physics and Secondary Education has been in place for decades at TCNJ. The present (since 2010) dual-degree includes physics requirements identical to those expected of all physics majors (7 core courses, 5 elective physics courses, 5 elective science/specialization courses, and 1 capstone) as well as a major in secondary education which includes extensive coursework in education theory, pedagogy and practice (10 courses, with several counting in both physics and secondary education programs). This dual degree confers a B.S. degree in Physics while qualifying students for New Jersey state certification to teach secondary physics (among the most rigorous state certification regulations nationwide). Students begin pedagogical field experiences in their sophomore year, and take four separate courses – each with a practicum in local schools by the time they graduate. Placements for practicum courses are arranged by the Support for Teacher Education Program office, located in the School of Education. Through this rigorous program, our pre-service teachers obtain a strong physics background as well as extensive teaching training, with certification, in just four years.

A Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree has also been long-offered by TCNJ, including a track toward certification in Physics. This program is designed for career-changers or for recent graduates (from TCNJ or elsewhere) who became interested in teaching too late to pursue the undergraduate dual degree. For the last decade, this program has had highly variable enrollment, usually with 0-2 physics candidates per year. This program has recently been re-invigorated and focused toward STEM education and service to high-need districts by support from a grant by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. This program has supported curriculum innovation, fellowships of $30,000 for 10 students per year (across content options in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Math and Integrative STEM), and sophisticated recruitment and marketing support.