Member Institution University of North Carolina at Asheville: Pre-Service Education Initiatives

University of North Carolina at Asheville

Introduction
Pre-Service Education Initiatives

Physics Department Initiatives to improve pre-service education

Our first step in improving pre-service teacher education in physics and physical science has been to strengthen the connections on campus between the Department of Physics and the Department of Education.  In January 2004, Judy Beck, lecturer in the Department of Physics, was appointed Coordinator of the Science Licensure Program for the Department of Education.  In this capacity, she advises pre-service science teachers (both post-baccalaureates and undergraduates), teaches the science methods course, EDUC 382, "Methods/Management in the Teaching of Science, 6-12," and supervises student teachers in secondary science.

Another major development connecting the physics department with the area of teacher education is the appointment of physics professor Dr. Chuck Bennett to the position of Interim Director of PARSEC (Pisgah Astronomical Research and Science Education Center.) PARSEC is an inter-institutional center of the University of North Carolina that promotes and coordinates usage of the facilities at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI). One of PARSEC's objectives is to "Develop and facilitate K-16 programs that include research by students and faculty, age-appropriate educational programs, science and technology outreach targeting women and minorities, workshops and seminars." Workshops include professional development opportunities for teachers. (See PARSEC.)

Another major development connecting the physics department with the area of teacher education is the appointment of physics professor Dr. Chuck Bennett to the position of Interim Director of PARSEC (Pisgah Astronomical Research and Science Education Center.) PARSEC is an inter-institutional center of the University of North Carolina that promotes and coordinates usage of the facilities at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI). One of PARSEC's objectives is to "Develop and facilitate K-16 programs that include research by students and faculty, age-appropriate educational programs, science and technology outreach targeting women and minorities, workshops and seminars." Workshops include professional development opportunities for teachers. (See PARSEC.)

Dr. Nancy Ruppert has provided a further important link between physics and education. She is a member of the Department of Education and the coordinator of both the Math Licensure Program and the Middle Grades Licensure Program. She has collaborated regularly with members of the Department of Physics as well as with the Department of Mathematics. She is active in the public schools and has taught distance learning classes for professional teacher development.

All three faculty members mentioned have engaged in collaborative and individual activities to improve pre-service teacher education in physics and physical science. A few examples of our collaborations include:
  • Developing a unit on finding the circumference of the earth and co-teaching it to an 8th grade class in collaboration with the in-service teacher and two pre-service teachers. (Ruppert/Beck)
  • Developing a unit on finding the circumference of the earth and co-teaching it to an 8th grade class in collaboration with the in-service teacher and two pre-service teachers. (Ruppert/Beck)
  • Joining math methods and science methods classes for pre-service teachers for several activities designed to explore math/science connections. (Ruppert/Beck)
  • Designing and implementing a full set of Probeware-based labs for first semester physics. The labs were implemented in both the course for physics majors and the course for non-majors.  Students seeking licensure in physics or chemistry take the former course; students seeking licensure in biology or middle school science take the latter. (Bennett/Beck)

Supplemental Link

  • PARSEC
    Pisgah Astronomical Research and Science Education Center