red Supported Site University of Wisconsin - La Crosse: Collaboration

Successes

  • Discipline-based education faculty in Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and Math have successfully taken on new roles with the Secondary Teacher Education program and the School of Education to improve the experience of teacher candidates.
  • The Physics Department is very actively involved in outreach events and professional development workshops with local schools, and involves undergraduate students in these events.

Challenges

  • The Physics Department receives more requests for outreach events than it can reasonably respond to (esp. demonstration shows).
  • Local schools recently instituted a new policy which requires all visitors to complete a Volunteer Criminal Background Check two weeks in advance of an outreach event.
  • There is a heavy time commitment on the part of content faculty involved in teacher education, especially to attend meetings and supervise student teachers.

Sustainability

  • Upper administration at UW-L have demonstrated a commitment to secondary teacher education. There have been several new faculty hires of education specialists within content departments (two began in 2012-2013 and five more will arrive in Fall 2013).

Lessons Learned

  • Departmental faculty who are involved in School of Education activities need to carefully document their participation and time spent, so this can be reported accurately to administration (e.g. to Department chair and Dean).

Activities

  • Discipline-based education faculty attend School of Education meetings, attend additional training sessions, and supervise teacher candidates in the field.
  • Physics Department outreach events to local schools: laser light shows, planetarium shows, and occasional demonstration shows.
  • The Physics Department conducts professional development for 30 local elementary and middle school teachers as part of a Math-Science-Partnerships grant. Teachers are on campus three weekends during the academic year and 2 weeks each summer, which has spawned opportunities for collaboration.