Supported Site Oregon State University
Oregon State University
Professor and Chair, Department of Physics
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Oregon State University (OSU) is a large public university, rated as a Carnegie “Very High Research Activity” university with a thriving doctoral and bachelor degree program located in Eugene, Oregon. With a considerable reputation for improving education in the physics department, OSU became a charter institution when PhysTEC first started operations. Shortly thereafter, a change in the retirement terms for the State of Oregon resulted in a mass exodus of physics faculty. Losing nearly a third of their faculty, and the PhysTEC project leadership, a decision was made by the faculty and the project to withdraw as a funded institution.
The Department of Science and Mathematics Education is committed to investigating lifelong STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning and teaching. The faculty brings broad experience in facilitating learning at the elementary through college levels and through free-choice learning.
Consequently, we have major foci on both K-16 teacher education (preservice and inservice) and research on teaching and learning. We are particularly concerned with the connection between our research and practice in K-12 and university classrooms and within free-choice learning environments and configurations. Simply put, our research informs our practice and our practice informs our research. The scholarly research efforts of the department faculty are varied, but can be accurately summarized as emphasizing teachers' facilitators' and learners' beliefs about problem solving, inquiry, and the nature of STEM. Our faculty members conduct research in classroom settings, within our courses on campus, and during free-choice learning experiences. These efforts have resulted in frequent national and international publications and presentations during the past 10 years, as well as being ranked 9 out of 375 nationally for faculty scholarly productivity in the Chronicle of Higher Education 2007.
Description of Graduate Concentrations
Free Choice Learning Research
In partnership with science centers, zoos, aquariums, public broadcasting organizations, after-school programs, scouting and museums, Free-Choice Learning researchers conduct research to understand and explore the nature and impacts of free-choice learning.
Collegiate Teaching Research
Scholarship in collegiate teaching has encompassed studies of graduate teaching assistants, instruction in large lecture courses, and comparative innovations in science and mathematics courses. Collegiate teaching researchers collaborate with institutions around the state and nation to investigate new approaches for large and small university classes, community college instruction, and distance learning.
Research in teaching and learning at the K12 level encompasses studies of preservice teacher learning and instruction, professional development of licensed professionals, and studies of mathematics knowledge required of professional development specialists working with teachers. Researchers collaborate with schools and school districts, the Oregon Department of Education, and other teacher education institutions to investigate teacher and student learning and innovations in instructional methods and materials.