red Supported Site University of Missouri-Columbia: Recruitment

Successes

  • Visits to physics and education courses and recruiting posters have proved effective; almost all of the learning assistants for 2012-2013 and the new hires for Fall 2013 reported seeing a flyer, poster, or having experienced a course visit.
  • Open house for recently admitted physics majors resulted in a new physics education student and PhysTEC scholar starting Fall 2013.
  • Seven of the nine learning assistants have indicated a strong continued or increased interest in becoming a future physics teacher and have taken clear steps towards that career goal (e.g. enrolled in a degree program and/or enrolled in the "Teaching Physics" course). The other two are still considering teaching.

Challenges

  • It has proved more difficult to recruit education students into physics than to recruit physics students into education. Students who have not completed the prerequisite mathematics courses by the start of their freshman year find it nearly impossible to complete the necessary physics coursework in a reasonable timeframe.
  • Recruiting high school students from Columbia is more challenging than anticipated; the students who are interested in physics also tend to be interested in leaving the area. We will target new schools in St. Louis and Kansas City next year.

Sustainability

  • MU physics department funds open houses, and will continue to fund these recruiting activities.
  • Classroom visits, other local presentations and website maintenance are no cost; these responsibilities will be continued by PI and/or new 0.5 FTE teaching professor (who will sustain the Teacher in Residence duties).

Lessons Learned

  • Visits to other higher education institutions to recruit for the MS program need to be followed by an event at MU 3-4 weeks later. We lost the interest of students with whom we did not have immediate follow-up contact.

Activities

  • A website (http://topteacher.missouri.edu) and a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/MUTOPteacher) were created for our TOP Teacher community.
  • Recruiting posters and flyers advertising the TOP teacher program and degrees were created and distributed or posted. Many students have told us that this is how they discovered the program.
  • Recruiting visits were made to four higher education institutions for the MS program ( http://smar2t.missouri.edu). Two new Learning Assistants for fall 2013 are from Lincoln University, and they working in their local Jefferson City schools.
  • Three new open houses were held to advertise the physics major and new special opportunities for physics education. These were aimed at currently enrolled MU undergraduates, prospective transfer students from a nearby community college, and recently admitted high school students.
  • We presented to ninth grade Missouri physics teachers involved in the NSF-supported "A TIME for Physics First" (http://physicsfirstmo.org/) professional development program. Teachers were encouraged to help recruit future teachers from their own pool of talented students. We have started to gather names of prospective MU students.