Towson University: Collaboration
- The project team established an open line of communication with four surrounding school districts (Baltimore County, Carroll County, Howard County, Harford County) and Towson's Department of Secondary Education.
- Ron Hermann, project PI, is on the UTeach steering committee and serves as department liaison to UTeach.
- Planning and implementing UTeach has required the cross-department and cross-college collaboration of faculty and administrators, which has resulted in the establishment of common goals and stronger communication across the university.
- Secondary program structures within the College of Education have been in place for decades and have taken time (and will continue to take time) to alter due to administrative inertia.
- With the recent adoption of the UTeach program, several courses offered by the Department of Secondary Education have been replaced with UTeach math/science specific courses. This continues to cause friction between the Colleges of Education and Science & Mathematics.
- The co-teaching of UTeach courses by a math or science education faculty and a college of education faculty is logistically challenging.
- The time that faculty dedicate to implementing the new UTeach program comes at the expense of other necessary faculty activities.
- Occasionally, administrators make programmatic decisions about STEM programs without consulting the faculty who are involved in these programs.
- The Deans of the College of Education and the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics will continue to structure and support cross-college collaboration.
- It is important to maintain open communication with the Department of Secondary Education so that future program changes do not come as a surprise, as well as to provide input on the proposed changes.
- College of Education leadership and faculty are open and willing to work with science educators to serve students' best interests.
- In the beginning, more faculty involvement would have been useful in the planning of the UTeach program.
- Certain UTeach collaboration requirements do not mesh well with Towson's unusual faculty structure, in which science education faculty are housed in content departments rather than education departments.
- Ron Hermann met frequently with faculty from the Department of Secondary Education about the secondary program requirements and possible changes to the program.
- Ron Hermann attended monthly Teacher Education Executive Board meetings.
- Project personnel attended many UTeach planning and steering committee meetings.
- Project personnel met with the UTeach project directors to discuss how to sustain the PhysTEC project successes.
- The UTeach Master Teacher has worked with PhysTEC future teachers and has maintained open communication with the project PIs.
- The project PIs collaborated with other education faculty on NCATE reporting requirements.
- The project PIs and a faculty member from the College of Education submitted and were awarded an 18-month grant to provide physics professional development for middle school teachers in Baltimore City Public Schools.
- Ron Hermann (PI) and the Chair of Secondary Education submitted an NSF proposal to analyze physics students' classroom practices.