Supported Site University of Wisconsin - La Crosse: Goals & Outcomes

Goals

The Physics Department at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse (UW-L) is nationally recognized for having a thriving undergraduate physics program, graduating more than 20 physics majors each year. There is only one pathway to become a high school physics teacher at UW-L: by obtaining an undergraduate major or minor in Physics Education within the Physics Department. The PhysTEC program at UW-L has three main goals:

  1. Increase the number of physics-certified teachers graduating from UW - La Crosse
  2. Provide physics teacher candidates with improved academic advising, discipline-specific coursework, and early field experiences
  3. Increase intra- and inter-institutional collaborations to provide a support network for in-service and pre-service teachers

Selected Outcomes

  • Recruitment : The number of students majoring in Physics Education rose from six in 2011-2012 (with one graduate) to nine in 2012-2013 (with three graduates) and seven in 2013-2014 (with two graduates). Several of these students have been recruited from the pool of physics majors (three out of four new students in 2012-2013 and two out of three new students in 2013-2014).
  • Early teaching experiences and course reform : The science methods course was reformed to include an embedded clinical field experience at local high schools. A new seminar course on curriculum and assessment in math and science was piloted in Fall 2013 and the new course was approved to be offered beginning in Fall 2014, which is designed specifically for teacher candidates in science and math.
  • Collaboration : Discipline-based education faculty in Physics, Biology, and Chemistry have successfully taken on new roles with the Secondary Teacher Education Preparation (STEP) program in the School of Education to improve the experience of teacher candidates, including: academic advising, early field experience placements, and student teacher supervision.
  • Teacher advisory group : A core group of local teachers was selected to provide mentoring to teacher candidates and input on the STEP program.