Champion

Selected Champion Resources

David E. Meltzer, Monica Plisch, and Stamatis Vokos, editors, Transforming the Preparation of Physics Teachers: A Call to Action. A Report by the Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics (T-TEP) (American Physical Society, College Park, MD, 2012). Pages 15-18.

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The champion is a change agent at the university who ensures program success. Typically, but not always, this is a tenured physics faculty member. Running the program may not be the champion's primary professional activity, but he or she advocates for the program and steps up when support is needed. A successful champion is usually part of a leadership team.

Strategies for Effective Leadership

The champion should have tenure. Most physics departments do not have tenure and promotion structures that reward teacher preparation activities. An untenured professor puts him-or herself at risk by devoting too much time to activities that do not count toward promotion.

The champion must be able to influence the decision-making processes of the physics department. Securing institutional commitment and faculty support for physics teacher preparation requires someone who has clout and the respect of his or her colleagues. A nontenure track faculty member, lecturer, or emeritus faculty member cannot be an effective champion, although such a person can play a valuable role on the leadership team.

The leadership team should include expertise about physics education research. While teacher preparation does not necessarily fall under the umbrella of physics education research(PER), knowledge of PER results should inform teacher preparation efforts.

The leadership team should be knowledgeable about the local school context. A Teacher-in Residence or education faculty member may be best equipped to provide this expertise.