NASULGC Leadership Collaborative Workshop at PhysTEC 09 Presentations

Opening Remarks

Overview of the PhysTEC project   -   Talk

Theodore Hodapp, American Physical Society

6:45 PM - 7:15 PM on Tuesday, Mar 11, 2008

The U.S. faces a critical shortage of qualified physics and physical science teachers. Two-thirds of new physics teachers lack a physics degree, and over 90% of middle school physical science students are taught by teachers without a physical science major or certification. In order to address the crisis in physics and physical science education, the American Physical Society (APS), the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), and the American Institute of Physics (AIP) have developed the PhysTEC project. For more information see


Pedagogical content knowledge needed to teach physics   -   Workshop

Eugenia Etkina, Rutgers University

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM on Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008

In this workshop the participants will learn about the concept of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and how this concept relates to the preparation of physics teachers. PCK is what distinguishes a content expert from an expert teacher of that content. Some aspects of physics PCK include knowledge of student ideas in different areas of physics, knowledge of effective instructional methods that help students master fundamental physics ideas and ways of reasoning, and knowledge of assessment of student learning.  The participants will also learn how to design a course/a sequence of courses for future physics teachers where they start building their physics PCK.

Transforming your undergraduate physics course using Learning Assistants   -   Workshop

Co-presenters: Valerie K. Otero, University of Colorado at Boulder; Steven J. Pollock, University of Colorado

8:30 AM - 10:00 AM on Thursday, Mar 12, 2009

Research shows that students have a much better chance of learning physics in physics courses that interactively engage students [1]. Relatively straightforward transformations to physics courses can have large impacts on students' learning [2]. In addition, U.S. universities are failing to recruit and adequately prepare future high school physics teachers [3] and our nation's youth are not getting adequate preparation in high school physics [4].  The Learning Assistant (LA) model addresses these problems by using undergraduate LAs to assist in the transformation of undergraduate courses and at the same time, they make up the pool from which new high school physics teachers are recruited. The LA model has demonstrated effectiveness in improving undergraduate education and in recruiting more physics majors to teaching careers [5]. In this workshop participants will be introduced to the basic components of the LA program and will learn how to use it to make practical changes in their own large-enrollment physics courses. Participants will engage with materials that are used both to train LAs and to transform our undergraduate courses.

1. R. Hake, Interactive Engagement vs. Traditional Methods: A six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses,  Am. J. Phys. 66, 64- 74 (1998)
2. S.J. Pollock & Noah D. Finkelstein, Sustaining Educational Reforms in Introductory Physics, PhysRev: ST Phys Ed. Rsrch, (in press, 2008).
3. M. Neuschatz & M. McFarling, Broadening the base: High school physics education at the turn of a new century, findings from the 2001 nationwide survey of high school physics teachers (AIP Press, College Park, MD, 2003).
4. W. Grigg, M. Lauko, & D. Brockway, The Nation.s Report Card: Science 2005, NCES 2006-466. U.S.Department of Education,National Center for Education Statistics, (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 2006).
5. V. Otero, N. Finkelstein, S. Pollock, and R. McCray, Who is responsible for preparing science teachers? Science, 313 (5786), 445 (2006).


University of North Carolina-Baccalaureate Education in Science and Teaching program   -   Talk

Keynote speaker: Laurie McNeil, University of North Carolina

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM on Thursday, Mar 12, 2009

Excellence in science teacher preparation is most effectively achieved by means of partnerships between science departments and the School of Education.  However, these partnerships are not always easy to form or maintain, because the partners typically do not have identical goals, cultures, or constraints.  I will describe the challenges we faced at UNC-CH in developing the UNC-BEST program and give examples of how we have overcome them.