red Supported Site University of Alabama: Recruitment

Successes

  • The number of students pursuing physics certification at the undergraduate or graduate levels has increased from zero to six.

Challenges

  • High school teacher salaries are not sufficiently competitive with other careers.
  • For many students, HS teaching is viewed as less prestigious than other professions such as university teaching and research.
  • The number of hours required for certification is too long compared with other degrees.

Sustainability

  • The Physics Education track and pathways to certification are described on the department and UA Phystec websites.
  • PhysTEC faculty are seeking long-term support for the Learning Assistant program.
  • The PhysTEC program has been written into the physics department's long-term plan, and recruiting is considered a vital part of the program.

Lessons Learned

  • The TIR is a very important element in recruiting.
  • Large numbers of students can be effectively targeted by visiting introductory classes and putting up posters.
  • Recruiting is a multi-pronged task involving publicity, advising, and nurturing.
  • An important element of recruiting is improving the learning environment in our classes and demonstrating that the faculty value good teaching.
  • Only a small fraction of students will normally choose HS teaching as a career.

Activities

  • The PhysTEC program was publicized in the Tuscaloosa News, the Crimson White (student newspaper), in an online A&S newsletter to UA faculty, through a university listserv going out to all secondary schools in the state, and in a new online monthly newsletter.
  • The TIR gave a brief presentation to each of the introductory physics classes at the beginning of each semester.
  • A poster was developed and posted throughout the physics building.
  • A brochure was developed and made available to students during TIR class presentations, TAG meetings, and at teacher workshops. .
  • A PhysTEC website was developed (http://phystec.ua.edu).
  • Every physics major was directly contacted by email for interest in HS teaching.
  • The TIR gave a presentation to SPS.

  • The TIR and PI gave a joint mini-colloquium to the department which included graduate and undergraduate students in the audience.