University of Minnesota Project Report 2009
- Our applications for Learning Assistant (LA) positions increased by over 50%. This is an indication that awareness of the program is growing and that it is well regarded by the students in the college. The LA program is our main teacher recruitment program.
- Faculty members in the School of Physics and Astronomy (SPA) are knowledgeable about the program and have referred several students interested in teaching to apply for the LA positions.
- The TIR has had several meetings with a group of undergraduates that are considering a career teaching physics.
- The TIR worked closely with nine undergraduates who have commited to a career teaching physics. Six of them were placed in high school physics classrooms to observe/volunteer. Five of them plan to enter the physics teaching licensure program within the next year, including two who are starting this fall.
- Noyce Scholarships to support students pursuing the teaching licensure were awarded to three students.
- Increasing the number of physics majors with a teaching emphasis remains the number one challenge after our first year in the PhysTEC program.
- It is one of our goals to increase the diversity of future physics teachers. This will not be possible without significant financial support.
- Continuity of recruitment and having a “contact person” (TIR) is critical to this effort and needs to be maintained.
- Developing and getting approval for a revised ‘Physics for Teaching’ curriculum is a challenge.
- The College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) is considered an integral part of the SPA program for students with teaching emphasis majors and of initial teacher preparation efforts on our campus.
- The Institute of Technology (IT) matching funds support the LAs. The IT Dean and Associate Dean for Students are both interested in the potential for LAs to improve retention of IT lower division students.
- A relationship with the area community college, Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) is being created. Several meetings between the College of Education’s Department of Post Secondary Teaching and Learning faculty, TIRs and community college faculty took place this year.
- The TIR presented poster at NorthStar STEM Initiative Kick-Off Event at the Science Museum of Minnesota. This event brought students from under-represented groups and faculty from community colleges and small colleges from around the state of Minnesota to a recruiting event organized and supported by UMN.
- Recruitment of students into a major of physics with a teaching emphasis is a process that will require several years. It is our intention to track former LAs and record their career choices.
- The printed and online materials that define the courses necessary to prepare a student for the UMN licensure program need to be updated. Current requirements and course numbers need to be clear to those that are considering a career teaching physics.
- Working with CEHD, we received an award from the Noyce Scholarship program. Scholarship recipients will receive $10,000 for a year in exchange for two years of teaching in a high-needs school.
- In three semesters, we have hired and placed 40 LAs into introductory physics courses.
- For the Fall 2009 semester, the LAs will be in Physics 1301 (calculus-based) instead of Physics 1101 (algebra-based).
- Twenty LAs (some returning from Spring 09 semester and some future physics teachers) have been hired to work with Physics 1301 course in Fall 2009.
- The Learning Assistant program and PhysTEC were featured in our fall Physics Open House.