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 in year one, and held at six in year two in spite of turnover.

Challenges

  • High school teacher salaries are not sufficiently competitive with other careers.
  • For many students, high school 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 high school teaching.
  • The TIR gave a presentation to Society of Physics Students.
  • · The TIR and PI gave a joint mini-colloquium to the department, which included graduate and undergraduate students in the audience.