Project Status: November 2005

Here is a brief synopsis of the actions and efforts of the PhysTEC project since 1 September 2005. If you have questions please contact the Project Manager, Victoria Kwasiborski or the Principal Investigator, Ted Hodapp (hodapp@aps.org).

Overall Project Activities

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU for the 2005-2006 funding year identified across the project 38 categories of activities planned. To date, the PhysTEC sites have engaged primarily in raising awareness of the project at each institution and teacher recruitment strategies.

Consultants

Marcia Fetters, Associate Professor and Science Educator at Western Michigan University, joined the project as Consultant for the 2005-2006 academic year. Marcia will focus efforts on reporting on the TIR program, and its strengths and challenges in relation to both the PhysTEC project and to national science education goals.

Mary Fehrs, Professor Emeritus at Pacific University has joined the project as Associate Project Director for Coalition Development. She has been active in testing new curriculum and pedagogy at Pacific inspired by her long association with AAPT where she has served on the executive board and been active in encouraging women in physics.

Site Visits. In early October project management visited The University of Colorado at Boulder, and visited Towson University and The University of Arkansas in early November. These visits were intended to get local feedback on the new MOU process and reporting objectives; probe ways in which work at ACP can help projects move forward; renew connections between PPIs and project management; and to introduce Mary Fehrs to the project.

PhysTEC Activities

Project Website Updating. To foster communication both within the project and with the larger educational world, the PPIs' 2004-2005 annual reports will be put up on the web. They will reside in the teacher preparation digital library, a new collection of the ComPADRE project that was initiated by Ted Hodapp as part of the PhysTEC dissemination process. At this time, project staff is working with the PPI leaders to revise these reports to fit a template that utilizes a standardized set of questions. The goals are to encourage thorough reporting on the project outcomes and to facilitate comparisons of approaches and results across all the PPIs.

Coalition Activities

New Members. PhysTEC welcomes Brigham Young University; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; Morningside College; and Buffalo State College.

Brigham Young University, in Provo Utah, has a unique program of teacher preparation that will graduate 23 (yes, that number is correct) secondary teachers licensed to teach physics in Utah this year. A new development at BYU is the hiring of Duane Merrill to teach, among other things, the secondary science methods course. Duane, a longtime high school physics teacher who is well known within the Utah physics teacher community, is in a tenure-track position in the physics department to maintain and build the program. Duane has already introduced a Teacher Advisory Group to the BYU program after having learned about similar ongoing efforts at PhysTEC sites.

The Rutgers Graduate School of Education and Physics/Astronomy Department work together with others in physics and education on the development of investigative learning systems, as well as on the development of formative assessment activities for introductory physics course to enable future physics teachers to develop higher-level science process abilities. Additionally, Rutgers, through Teacher Advisory Groups, sponsors sessions throughout the academic year for high school teachers.

Morningside College recently restructured their Physics Department, moving from traditional lectures to interactive modules designed to align with teaching strategies and methods. These new modules utilize pedagogical techniques appropriate for adaptation into the public school system. Additionally, physics students engage in research that extends into the community, increasing the awareness of physics and physics teaching, at Morningside College.

Buffalo State is one of the leading comprehensive teacher preparation and development institutions in New York State, and the pre-eminent institution in Western New York, enrolling more than three thousand teacher candidates and teachers. The College is a U niversity College in the State University of New York system. There are one undergraduate (BSEd), two post-baccalaureate (certification only) and two graduate programs (MSEd with and without Alternative Certification) programs leading to physics teacher certification at Buffalo State. Additionally, all Buffalo State teacher preparation programs are rigorously accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).