Supported SiteSupported Site Ball State University: Goals & Outcomes

PhysTEC Project Goals and Outcomes

  • Rebuild physics teacher production through the recruitment of preservice physics teachers
  • Reform the introductory algebra-based physics courses taken by preservice science (non-physics) teachers
  • Develop an effective induction/mentoring program for newly-certified physics teachers
  • Explore alternate ways to deliver the instruction program for the department’s course (300 plus per year) for Elementary Education majors

This project activity took place during the time period that the state of Indiana introduced new licensure requirements (fall 2002) and a state-mandated mentoring program (fall 2006) for all of Indiana’s newly-certified teachers.

In 2007-2008, the PhysTEC project at Ball State underwent major changes in personnel and resources. The retirement of two faculty members in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the sudden death of a former TIR, all of whom have made significant contributions to the project, have limited the range of activities that have been carried out recently. Also, the financial resources were not available to hire a TIR.

About Ball State

  • Ball State University is one of the largest producers of teachers and school professionals in the Midwest. Of the more than 18,000 students who attend Ball State University, approximately 4,900 students are enrolled in professional education programs.
  • Building on an outstanding tradition of excellence in teacher preparation, Indiana Department of Education data indicate that the Department of Physics and Astronomy has led the state of Indiana in the production of certified physics teachers by producing 35 certified physics teachers in the ten-year period between 1996 and 2005.

Selected Project Successes

  • By the close of the PhysTEC project in 2007-2008, five preservice physics teachers from the department received certification that year. One of these persons can be considered as a crossover teacher.
  • The induction/mentoring of preservice and inservice teachers by Ball State’s TIRs throughout the project have assisted in providing a 100% retention rate of the 41 certified physics teachers produced by the department during the past eight years.
  • University administrators have come to recognize the high levels of achievement of the TIRs and have gained a greater awareness of the TIR model and the positive impacts the TIR can have on both preservice and new inservice science teachers.
  • TIR Mike Wolter and a member of the PhysTEC Project Management Team, John Layman, prepared induction/mentoring materials, policies, and procedures that were shared with other PhysTEC member institutions and have become part of the professional preparation of the project's TIRs.
  • After TIR Neil Anthony returned to his classroom and administrative position at Ivy Tech, a local community college, he developed a two-year physics major program that becomes transferable to a four-year physics major program. The second program under development is a two-year elementary education program that will transfer to a four-year program.
  • In 2008, Ball State University was selected as one of four institutions in the state of Indiana to receive a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation program. Funding will be for three years to prepare new teachers from recent college STEM graduates or transitioning STEM professionals. The TIR model, which was initiated by PhysTEC, will be used for new teacher induction and mentoring in this program. More information.