The PhysTEC website will be unavailable Friday evening through Saturday afternoon as electrical work occurs in the American Center of Physics server room. Down time will begin at 6PM Eastern Time on Friday. Service is expected to resume by 6PM on Saturday, July 30.

The 5+ Club Supported SiteThe 5+ Club Supported Site Middle Tennessee State University: Recruitment

Successes

  • The number of physics majors pursuing a career in physics teaching increased from 3 to 15 during the second year of funding.
  • Fourteen high school physics students visited MTSU during a physics open house during fall semester. The open house is becoming a yearly event.
  • Several mathematics education majors changed to physics teaching due to increased attention, and "customer service" in recruiting and advising.
  • Testimonials of recent graduates have been placed on the department website to make our communication of career options more impactful (http://www.mtsu.edu/physics/StudentTestimonials.php).

Challenges

  • Of non-major physics students that identify themselves as being interested in physics teaching, fewer than 50% show up for follow-up information meetings.
  • Scheduling of visits to introductory physics sections for recruiting is time consuming and labor intensive.
  • Website design and development is difficult for faculty to maintain due both to time constraints and lack of expertise.
  • Managing surveys and pre/post exams in multiple sections of several courses is administratively challenging, and can be burdensome to faculty.
  • Growing popularity of physics teaching leads some students to enter the program before they have demonstrated success in junior level physics courses.
  • Some students choose to complete the Physics Teaching concentration, but not complete the required education classes to achieve licensure for a variety of reasons: the USAF required a commissioned student to leave school early, another did not enjoy the education classes and is pursuing alternative licensure.

Sustainability

  • Advertising campaign from CommonSense Communications was developed and implemented in spring 2013.
  • Physics faculty and/or students visit every introductory physics course at least once per semester to advertise both major and teaching concentration.
  • Physics open house will become a recurring event each semester.
  • New PER faculty member provides a renewed commitment to course reform of introductory physics courses and physics pedagogy courses.
  • Early successes with a TAG of local high school teachers will support recruitment as they share positive experiences with their students.

Lessons Learned

  • College students need to hear about physics careers and physics teaching several times before acting on their interests.
  • High school students are interested in physics once career options are made known.
  • Careers of recent physics graduates from MTSU form a compelling case for physics as a viable major.

Activities

  • Marketing study was performed by John Rice of CommonSense Communications.
  • Physics faculty visited both Calculus-based and Non-calculus-based Introductory Physics classes to discuss careers in physics.
  • Half-day open house is offered for area high school students each fall.
  • Recruiting material sent to 500 Tennessee high school students within a targeted ACT range and that had expressed interest in physical science or science teaching. Approximately 65 students submitted follow-up information.
  • Monthly Teachers Advisory Group meetings lead teachers to encourage their high school students to consider joining our department upon graduation.