red Supported Site Seattle Pacific University: Goals & Outcomes

Goals

  • The PhysTEC project at Seattle Pacific University has an overarching goal of building a community which will support future physics and physical science teachers.
  • In the long term we hope to see 2 or 3 students per year graduate with a major or minor in physics at SPU and pursue a career in pre-college teaching.
  • We also hope to work with the School of Education to construct a certification program at SPU which is explicitly designed for secondary STEM teachers.
  • We want to have an impact on all teachers of physics who graduate from SPU, including elementary school teachers.

Selected Outcomes

  • SPU hosted the first Northwest Regional PTEC conference in October 2008. The event was attended by 74 educators representing 20 different institutions, organizations, and districts from across the country, as well as local students interested in physics education.
  • We recently won a Robert Noyce Teaching Fellowship Planning Grant from the National Science Foundation. The planning grant allows us to develop a full teaching fellowship application and submit it in the next NSF funding cycle. The Teaching Fellowship Grant is targeted toward working professionals in the sciences and engineering who wish to switch careers into full time teaching at the middle school or high school level. Our planning grant will allow us to plan changes to our graduate programs in education, to secure agreements from local school districts, and form partnerships with local educational and funding organizations.
  • Lezlie DeWater is an experienced elementary school teacher and science resource specialist who is in a full-time position as a Resident Master Teacher at SPU. Lezlie is an integral part of the physics department, teaching and co-teaching education and physics education courses, designing professional development, recruiting LA’s, mentoring pre-service and inservice teachers, and participating in departmental research on formative assessment and student learning.
  • The most significant impact of our VMT’s has been on the supervision of teacher interns. Now all graduating physics teachers experience an internship that is supervised by one of our VMT’s who is an expert in reformed physics instruction.
  • All graduating physics teachers also have the opportunity to request ongoing mentorship from one of the VMT’s during their first and second years as a classroom teacher.
  • Our LA program serves as the primary mechanism for recruiting physics teachers from our undergraduate student population. At present, 3 former LA’s are teaching physics in a pre-college classroom, 1 former LA is a teacher intern, 2 current LA’s are finishing their undergraduate degree with support from a PhysTEC Noyce Scholarship and at least 2 current LA’s are planning to apply for PhysTEC Noyce Scholarships.
  • Science methods courses are being taught by a faculty member who holds a joint appointment in the School of Education and the Physics Department and the TIR in the Physics Department.