Supported SiteSupported Site Chicago State University: Goals & Outcomes


Our proposal focuses primarily on recruitment into the Physics Teaching Option. To accomplish this we will concentrate on re-envisioning our Learning Assistant program and creating a new teacher immersion institute. Our goals include:

  1. increasing the number of students in our secondary education program in physics.
  2. increasing the number of students pursuing certification in science with a designation in physics.
  3. providing an early teaching/reflection opportunity that links in-service and pre-service teachers, and establishing collaborations and partnerships with in-service teachers.
  4. providing appropriate research and teaching opportunities for pre-service teachers to develop strong Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK).
  5. engaging colleagues and students at the two year colleges, CSU, and the high school to become more aware of the teaching profession and help each of these institutions understand the important role they play in this effort.
  6. establishing a Learning Assistant program that engages undergraduates.

The goals above are present throughout the project; although in the first year, the Summer and Fall semesters were used to plan and set up the Learning Assistant program (the PhysTEC Fellows - PTFs) and the Teacher Immersion Institute (TII). Physics has a stable, but small, Learning Assistant program and the Teacher Immersion Course (Phys 3500) has a stable number of students enrolled each year. We are hoping to expand both the TII course and the LA Program into other disciplines.

Selected Outcomes

  • Papers Submitted/Proposed:
    • A paper discussing our Teaching Immersion Course Model and its implementation at Chicago State University and Seattle Pacific University was submitted to the Effective Practices in Preservice Physics Teacher Education: Recruitment, Retention, and Preparation. The paper outlines our efforts in developing high school teacher leaders who aid in our efforts to prepare the next generation of physics teachers and recruit students into the field. It also provides a model similar to a part time TIR. The paper has been accepted and is in the copy editing phase.
    • A paper proposal detailing our collaborations with our Two Year College Partners has been submitted to the upcoming Physical Review - Special Topics :Physics Education Research Focused Collection on Preparing and Supporting University and College Physics Educators. (Unfortunately, the proposal was not accepted.)
  • PhysTEC Fellows accepted
    • The increase in applicants from the first year to the fourth year of the project and the increase in the participation on the part of the City Colleges (CC's) is encouraging.
      • In the third year of the project we had twelve students apply to the PhysTEC Program. Seven of these students were from the CC's and five were accepted.
      • In the fourth year of the project we had thirteen students apply. Eight of the students were from the CC's and five were accepted.
      • The graph below shows the growth of the PhysTEC Program over the four years.

    • PTF's must be in good academic standing, be involved in outreach and service, and must show an interest in the teaching profession. In the first semester CSU PTF's are hired as Learning Assistants (LAs) in either the introductory physics courses or the Physics and Everyday Thinking (PET) course. In the second semester PTF's are typically hired as research assistants. PTF's at the City Colleges are generally involved in the introductory physics courses. In the fourth year, PTFs at Olive Harvey College were involved in instructional material development since Physics I was not offered.
  • Publicity
    • A CSU design student was hired to produce a poster, a flyer, and a brochure for the project. The student worked alongside a CSU Art and Design faculty member at CSU. We now have a collection of brochures and flyers for the project.
    • Sabella and Van Duzor meet with the physics faculty and students at the CC's each year to discuss the project. Visits in the fourth year were made to Harold Washington College, Malcolm X College, and Olive Harvey College.
    • PhysTEC included CSU as the featured site highlighting an article published in the Physics Teacher Magazine and an article was featured in the Forum on Education Newsletter ( In the third year of the project CSU had an article about two new developed state-of-the-art physics classrooms in the FEd Newsletter
    • The new CSU Science Education website went live during the project period and includes information on the science education programs with specific links to our PhysTEC and Noyce Projects.
    • Four videos were produced, as described above, and are included on our science education website. There is also a link to the videos from the PhysTEC website.
    • In the fourth year of the project, one of the original CSU PhysTEC fellows was one of five students awarded the AAPT Barbara Lotze Scholarship. An article was published in the Chicago Citizen about the student. (
    • Sabella co-organized a meeting for the American Physical Society Committee on Education to discuss teaching physics in the urban environment. Attendees included APS COE members from around the country and Chicago Two Year College Physics Faculty and Chicago Area High School Physics Teachers. The meeting focused broadly on physics education but brought in the Chicago PhysTEC Collaborative. The meeting was discussed in the APS Forum on Education Newsletter.
  • Teacher Immersion Institute (TII) Course
    • A two-credit course was developed and revised by two in-service high school teachers, Jennifer Passehl (Gary Comer College Prep) and Kara Weisenburger (ChiArts HS), Sabella and Van Duzor. The course ran in the Spring 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 semesters. In the last year of the project the course included one CSU Noyce Scholar, one undergraduate in physics education, in addition to four PhysTEC Fellows. Passehl, Wiesenberger, Sabella, Van Duzor presented a poster at the 2013 PhysTEC Conference. In the last year of the project Wiesenberger gave an invited talk at the winter AAPT Meeting on the Teacher Immersion Course. All CSU PhysTEC Fellows are required to enroll in the TII Course.
    • A collaborative workshop with Seattle Pacific University was given at the 2013 PhysTEC Conference about the Immersion Course. Attendance at the session was good with positive feedback from participants. The workshop was led by Robertson (SPU), Sabella (CSU), Passehl (CSU/Gary Comer HS), and Wiesenberger (CSU/ChiArts HS).
    • An article on the Teacher Immersion Institute was published in the Physics Teacher Magazine in Spring 2012 ( ).
    • An initial collaborative paper (CSU, SPU) was submitted and was accepted, pending revisions, to the Effective Practices Book in 2013 on the Immersion Course. The paper was accepted and is now in the copy editing phase.
  • Learning Assistant Program. In the fourth year of the project, Sabella had a meeting with the Provost and the director of the CSU Learning Assistant Center about the Learning Assistant Program in Physics at CSU. Also, in the fourth year, CSU hosted one of five regional LA workshops. The workshop had about 50 participants from around the Midwest.
  • Invited Science Education Visitors/Speakers at CSU. We have had about 15 invited speakers visit CSU to talk to our faculty and students about science education, physics education, and physics education research. Much of the support for these speakers comes from our NSF Noyce Program. Students in our program typically read a paper by the speaker, have lunch with the speaker and then attend the public lecture. A list of speakers is included in the Publications & Talks section.

    In addition to speakers hosted at CSU, members of CSU help plan the Chicago Excellence Symposium series and the Chicago Section of the AAPT meetings and have input on the speaker selection. The website for the Chicago Excellence Symposium is located at: This past year Kathy Perkins from the University of Colorado spoke.
  • Research and Scholarly Activities
    • A collaborative paper (with SPU) discussing our Teaching Immersion Course Model and its implementation at Chicago State University and Seattle Pacific University was submitted to the Effective Practices in Preservice Physics Teacher Education: Recruitment, Retention, and Preparation. The paper has been accepted pending revisions.
    • Van Duzor conducted a series of interviews with TYC partners on the topic of effective collaboration. A poster was presented at the 2014 Midwest Regional LA Meeting and the 2014 PhysTEC Conference in Austin, TX. Sabella and Van Duzor published an article about the Teacher Immersion Institute in the Physics Teacher Magazine. The Physics Teacher -- May 2012 -- Volume 50, Issue 5, pp. 296: .
    • Video and audio of the Teacher Immersion Institute were obtained and partially transcribed for research purposes (ongoing).
    • Projects on student culture have been conducted and are supported by PhysTEC Funding. Ebony Moore and Karla Jemison (PhysTEC Fellows) attended the national American Association of Physics Teachers meeting in Ontario CA to present this work.
    • Projects on the Teaching Immersion Course were also conducted by CSU PhysTEC Fellows and Science Education Students. Field notes were taken on the course and videos of almost all the TII classes were collected and many were transcribed. Two students participated in this work in the Spring 2013 semester. In 2014 four CSU students prepared a poster on the TII course and three of the students presented the poster at the 2014 PhysTEC Conference.
    • Sabella conducted interviews that focused on the aspects of culture that future teachers might bring into the science classroom. In addition, Sabella conducted interviews on obstacles and perseverance in the pursuit of the physics degree. We feel that it is very important to tell the stories of our students to help others understand the challenges they face.

      Over twenty presentations related to the PhysTEC Project have been given at conferences around the country. A complete list is given at the end of this document. In addition we have given two workshops on the Teaching Immersion Course, one at the national level at the 2013 PhysTEC Conference and one at the local level at the Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and Science Symposium.
  • Student Progress
    • During the project, three students switched into the Physics Education Option as a result of being in the PhysTEC Program. All three former PhysTEC Fellows have decided to pursue the CSU Noyce Program with a focus in Physics Education and were accepted into the Noyce Program. PhysTEC Fellows have attended and/or presented at the 2012, 2013, 2014 PhysTEC conference, the 2012 national AAPT meeting, and the 2012 IRISE Program at Seattle Pacific University. This last year two of the three PhysTEC Fellows who were pursuing engineering and straight physics have given serious thought to becoming teachers.
    • Virginia Hayes, CSU Noyce Scholar and future physics teacher was honored at the 2012 18th Annual Friends of CSU Awards Gala held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Chicago. The theme of the session was "Women in the business of Transforming Lives." Virginia spoke about the importance of science teaching, the need to increase diversity in science and reflected on the obstacles she has overcome to obtain her degree.
    • Each year students selected to be Noyce Scholars and PhysTEC Fellows are honored at the University Honors Convocation. This is an opportunity for family, friends, and university faculty and staff to recognize the work of these students.
    • We expect to have two students completing licensure in science with a physics designation in 2014.