Supported Site Chicago State University: Recruitment

The CSU Physics education program has seen some growth in the number of undergraduate students pursing this option. In addition the percentage of physics majors in the secondary education option is larger than it ever has been in the past. Because numbers are small it is important that we do not read too much into the data although the trend in the undergraduate numbers is encouraging. The graphs below show the number of students and percentage of students in the secondary education major in a given year. Students are counted if they are officially in the secondary education option at CSU according to University records.

Successes

  • In the Fall 2010 Semester CSU accepted three PhysTEC Fellows into the program. None of those students attended the City Colleges of Chicago (CCCs). In the Fall 2011 Semester CSU accepted seven PhysTEC Fellows into the program. Two students attended two of the City Colleges of Chicago and completed their Learning Assistant duties at their respective schools. In the Fall 2012 semester we accepted seven PhysTEC Fellows into the program. In the Fall 2013/Spring 2014 semesters we accepted ten students into the program (seven were able to participate).
  • The PhysTEC and Noyce Program are becoming more and more known in the department and faculty throughout the department are informing interested students about the two projects.
  • CCC faculty are becoming more and more invested in the program. Two faculty members, at Malcom X College and Harold Washington College, have discussed developing their own LA Programs. One faculty member at HWC will focus his 2014 sabbatical on developing an LA Program. The faculty member at Olive Harvey was hoping to work with three students this past semester (Spring 2014). Unfortunately, only one student was able to devote time to the project.
  • Photo shoots were held in the first three years of the project and pictures were shared with PhysTEC staff and CSU University relations.

Challenges

  • Although we were able to double the number of PhysTEC Fellows accepted from year 1 to year 2, we would still welcome additional applications. In year three we saw an increase in the total number of applicants with twelve students applying to the program. This increase was largely due to an increase in the number of CC students applying as year three saw a decrease in the number of acceptable CSU applicants. Year 4 had numbers similar to year 3, with thirteen applicants from the CCs and CSU.
  • Student schedules (due to family commitments, other personal commitments, course commitments, etc.) make scheduling common time for meetings extremely difficult. Often our students are unable to fulfill the full number of Learning Assistant hours permitted by the program.
  • Again, time issues limited the amount of time that we could meet in person with the CCC partners. We believe this is crucial to the project but would require release time from other duties. This has been a major struggle for us. At comprehensive sites TIR appointments take on many of these commitments but for targeted sites many of these activities need to be taken on by project PIs.

Sustainability

  • The science education program (Biology, Chemistry, and Physics) launched a new website ( http://csuteachscience.org/) developed by a professional company (Pinatubo Creative LLC). The website promotes both the PhysTEC and Noyce Programs and we anticipate that it will help in recruiting efforts.
  • CSU has recently completed renovations in two physics classrooms. These classrooms are state of the art learning environments with multiple SmartBoards, and video/audio recording capabilities. The rooms promote active engagement in the classroom and allow us to obtain data for ongoing education research projects. We believe that the new classroom will play a major role in recruiting students into the physics major and the physics teacher program.
  • In year 4, the University committed funds ($10,000) and release time to sustain the program. In year 5 the University has committed funds ($15,000) and release time to the project.
  • There is interest among the Provost, the director of the CSU Learning Assistant Center and the STEM Chairs to develop a Learning Assistant Program at CSU. This aligns with the University plan to develop an embedded tutor program.

Lessons Learned

  • We continue to struggle with recruiting into the teacher education program. Although personalized efforts have been used to attract people into the teacher program, more effort seems to be warranted.
  • Our number of majors in physics remains small and this limits the pool of individuals that we can attract into the program. We need to make more of an effort to recruit in other disciplines and in high schools. Several efforts to attract more students are being undertaken by the physics faculty.
  • Release time for PIs at targeted sites seems important in the absence of a TIR.

Activities

  • Prepared document for annual CSU President's report that focuses on the new classrooms and efforts to promote physics education.
  • City College of Chicago partners at Harold Washington and Malcolm X have taken posters on the PhysTEC/Noyce Programs at CSU to post at their schools.
  • Sabella and Van Duzor spoke to faculty and students at three of the City Colleges of Chicago: Harold Washington College, Malcolm X College, and Olive Harvey College.
  • Sabella, Van Duzor, and/or Koziarski presented in the Careers in Chemistry and Physics Course at CSU to roughly about twenty students about science education and careers in teaching.
  • Project has led to over 20 presentations and two workshops on the Teaching Immersion Institute have been conducted.
  • Project has let to one publication in the Physics Teacher Magazine (2011). A second paper describing the Immersion Course was accepted pending revisions to the Effective Practices Book. A proposal for a third paper was submitted to Physical Review -Special Topics:Physics Education Research but was declined.