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Abstract Title: Understanding the impact of institutional structures and cultural practices on university informal physics programs
Abstract: Teaching and communicating about physics to non-expert audiences in informal settings has been a hallmark of the physics community. Informal programs have a variety of goals and a wide range of content, audiences, facilitators, and medium. However, research is lacking as to what makes individual university informal physics programs successful. In this work, we seek to understand the practices of informal physics programs and how they are situated in their local physics community by examining two large informal physics programs in Colorado. Using management and organizational theory, we analyze interviews with facilitators and document institutional structure and cultural practices within each program. Themes from the analysis are importance of sustained funding, cultural norms of the institution in which the program is embedded, faculty support, and a consistent pool of volunteers. This paper is a pilot for a larger effort to gain a systemic understanding of the impact of informal physics.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Claudia Fracchiolla
University of Colorado - Boulder
440 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
and Co-Presenter(s)
Adam Pearlstein,
Noah Finkelstein,
Brian Jones,
Kathleen Hinko