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The addition of a new STEM faculty member in Bowdoin’s Department of Education is an exciting opportunity to better promote and support our physics majors who are interested in becoming effective science and mathematics teachers. Historically very few physics majors complete teaching certification requirements at Bowdoin, although several graduates take jobs in private schools or with provisional certification every year. A new collaboration between the physics and education departments will develop those aspects of our liberal arts program that foster or attract those interested in teaching to provide a clear path for high quality future teachers.
Our goal is to increase the number of trained physics teachers by developing a more clearly-defined Physics Education path, including a new STEM pedagogy course and in-class teaching experiences modeled on the Learning Assistant model from UC Boulder. Promotion of these courses should encourage more students to consider teaching careers and to begin education coursework at Bowdoin.
A short series of workshops with physics and education faculty, local high school physics teachers, and the non-profit Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance (MMSA) will help the physics and education departments develop a collaborative program well connected to current teaching needs. This application requests funding for the initial workshops, meant to establish the networks and collaboration necessary to better meet the needs of interested Bowdoin students.