red Supported Site Cal Poly Pomona: Recruitment

Successes

  • The PhysTEC team has been publicizing the LA opportunities to other science, math, and engineering students via events such as open houses (Fall 2012, Winter 2014), LA orientation and information sessions (Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013), outreach presentations (several events), emails, and through Faculty Advisory Panel (FAP) members.
  • We have been successful in publicizing the physics LA program. In fact, in Winter and Spring 2014, two incoming freshman physics students and their parents made inquiries about the CPP Physics & Astronomy department LA and CPP high school physics teaching credential programs during their campus visit and via emails to Dr. Sadaghiani.
  • The CPP Physics PhysTEC and LA programs were featured in a one-page article on CEMaST Spring 2014 Newsletter.
  • The Cal Poly Pomona PhysTEC Program website (http://parallax.sci.csupomona.edu/PhysTEC/), which contains all the important information about the physics credential as well as the program itself, provides a useful resource for all students interested in teaching physics.
  • The project website was established in 2013, and is currently being maintained by the department website committee and is part of the department webpage.
  • We will use an online application process for LA hires starting Fall 2014. The link for the application is on the department website under LA program webpage: http://physics.csupomona.edu/academic-programs/phystec-la-program
  • Dr. Sadaghiani has been providing mentoring and advising to physics students with interest in physics teaching.
  • Providing early field experiences and outreach opportunities for physics majors, as a recruitment tool, has been a successful strategy. Most student experience a great deal of joy and reward, which often sparks some interest in considering teaching as a career or applying to the CPP LA program.
  • The PhysTEC activities increased the visibility of physics teaching as a career to physics majors and students taking introductory physics courses in general. The activities also helped to build a community among physics majors.
  • The Physics LA program has gained increased visibility and reputation in the College of Science and the University.
    • So far, we have been successful in disseminating the LA model to the CPP Biology Department with the lead of a PhysTEC Faculty Advisory Panel (FAP) member, Dr. Paul Beardsley.
    • The CPP PhysTEC team continues to encourage faculty from math and chemistry to adopt the LA model in their departments. As a result, Dr. Alrlo Caine, another PhysTEC Faculty Advisory Panel member, attended the Colorado Learning Assistant workshop in Fall 2013.
  • Curricular changes have made the physics minor more attractive and increased the number of students who earn it.
  • The total number of physics graduates continues to increase, from 20 majors graduating in Spring 2013 to 24 in Spring 2014. Many of the graduating class had LA assignments in some point.
  • An LA appreciation luncheon was held in May 2013 and 2014 to recognize LAs' work and dedication.
  • A department photographer took pictures of project events for the PhysTEC website during the first and second year of the project.

Challenges

  • CPP is expected to convert from a quarter to a semester system by Fall 2018. This would potentially delay the development of a new pathway for teacher education.
  • Increasing the visibility of physics teaching as a career option among majors and non-majors and getting the students to consider a credential in physics is challenging.
  • Closer collaboration with the College of Education on student recruitment and training is needed. We have had some success in this area in the second year and will continue our efforts.
  • Providing a more efficient curricular pathway to teaching physics could increase student interest. The department's 2013 proposal for a BA in Physics that was designed for this purpose was not approved due to budgetary restrictions for new program development at CSU.

Sustainability

  • Community building events such as the departmental fall welcome reception, winter Research Open house, spring BBQ picnic, and weekly LA seminars have become regular events and been accepted by the faculty and students as part of the department culture.
  • Faculty members acknowledge the value of these events for recruitment and for building physics students community. These events will continue beyond the grant.
  • We have a Co-PI in the College of Education and three PIs in the physics department - including the department chair- who all are great supports for the project.
  • New and junior faculty members are strong supporters; they often refer to LAs as a vital element in their teaching.
  • The LA program is becoming an integral part of our introductory courses and part of the department culture and norms. During the second year of the project, the number of physics courses that used LA on a regular basis reached 18 courses.
  • We are exploring college, university, and CSU level resources to sustain the LA program after the life of the grant.

Lessons Learned

  • Frequent praising of the LA's work and dedication to their peers is an effective recruitment tool.
  • Social activities increase the PhysTEC and LA program visibility.
  • Continuous one-on-one recruitment efforts by PIs, faculty, and academic advisors seem to be most effective.

Activities

  • Dr. Sadaghiani gave a presentation about the CPP department physics teacher recruiting efforts and LA program at Southern California American Association of physics Teachers (SCAAPT) on November 8, 2013.
  • The CPP Physics & Astronomy annual Fall 2013 demo show included LAs who independently carried out several physics demonstrations for a large group of diverse audiences.
  • The project team e-mailed students (physics majors, minors, and students in the third quarter of the intro calculus-based physics class) information on teaching as a career and the PhysTEC program.
  • PIs have visited several PHY 133 (third quarter freshman physics) classes to announce the recruiting events among non-majors and engineering students.
  • A brief recruitment PowerPoint presentation was prepared and emailed to faculty in Phy 133 and Phy 235 classes to share with their students in Spring 2014.
  • In Spring 2014, a new LA recruitment poster was designed and placed throughout the College of Science building and was shared with The Center for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (CEMaST) and the College of Education and Integrative Study.
  • First year recruiting events were held October 18, 2012 and May 24th, 2013. The program included presentations by PhysTEC PIs, testimonies from current LAs, pizza lunch, and Q&A. The second year recruiting even also included informative flyers about PhysTEC and the CPP Physics LA program were distributed.
  • We have created quarterly flyers to recruit people into teaching and placed them throughout College of Science building. Recruiting flyers were e-mailed to other departments within the College of Science and the College of Education. Many flyers were posted in the Colleges of Science and Education explaining PhysTEC goals.
  • PhysTEC project progress was shared with Physics and Astronomy faculty at the departmental meeting during first and second year of the project, which was well received.
  • The success of the Physics LA program and its recognition with the Dean and faculty of the College of Science led to support for the Biology Department to launch their own pilot LA program in Fall 2013.
  • The announcements of all PhysTEC events were sent out via e-mail to the PhysTEC Faculty Advisory Panel (FAP), physics majors, and minors.
  • Physics and Astronomy faculty conducted one-on-one recruiting among physics majors/minors during undergraduate advising and any social opportunity.
  • PowerPoint slides of the PhysTEC program were shown in the first year experience class to incoming physics majors.
  • A recent CPP graduate (Nicholas Aguilera) who is teaching high school physics was invited to give a talk at the LA and Cal Poly Pomona Noyce Scholars seminars in January 2013.
  • Dr. Sadaghiani met with local SPS student chapters and discussed recruiting strategies and LA opportunities.
  • The PER faculty gave a talk at the Department of Physics and Astronomy seminar series on becoming a high school physics teacher in Fall 2012.
  • We continued our efforts to increase the number of our majors via SPIN-UP efforts, examples of which include the departmental fall welcome back reception, Winter research Open House, and spring BBQ.
  • The project team distributed information about credential requirements in California, along with scholarship and job opportunities in teaching.
  • Single-subject credential advising is available by PIs. The most current information for the science credential program and Robert Noyce Scholarship opportunities are available at: http://www.csupomona.edu/~noyce/. Required coursework for the Physics Concentration is available at http://www.csupomona.edu/~cso/programs/single_subject.html and http://catalog.csupomona.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=5&poid=1086&returnto=797&print .
  • The PhysTEC program is described in the welcome letter that the department chair sends to all incoming freshman Physics majors.
  • The program is also described in all of the hour-long small group orientation sessions led by the department chair in the summer for incoming students (total of 77 participants in Summer 2013, 50 in Spring 2014).