California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (CPP) is a Hispanic Serving Institution located in the urban setting of eastern Los Angeles County with more than 20,000 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students. In recent U.S. News and World Report College Rankings, CPP is the top public institution in the western region for campus diversity.
The CPP Department of Physics and Astronomy has 16 Tenure Track faculty members, many with experience in pedagogical innovation. Two of the co-PIs are nationally recognized Physics Education Research (PER) and Astronomy Education Research (AER) researchers. Over the past three years, the CPP physics program has had 11, 15, and 11 students graduate. This places the department in the top 10% nationally relative to other Bachelor’s-only Physics departments. The highest degree awarded is a B.S. in Physics; hence, the program and faculty are focused on undergraduate education.
By the end of the three-year PhysTEC project, CPP intends to increase the number of physics teachers graduating from its credential program from an average of 1 to at least 5-6 students per year. To achieve this goal, CPP proposes the following activities:
As a result of the existing pilot LA program and with the support from the CPP Noyce scholarship program, CPP currently has five physics seniors with a serious interest in becoming physics teachers, two of whom are already in the pipeline. The PhysTEC project has the potential to increase the number of physics teacher graduates beyond 10% of a large and growing number of physics majors; in addition to a relatively large pool of physics majors, CPP has a large recruitment pool from over 1500 students (mostly engineering majors) who take introductory physics courses each quarter.