Supported SiteSupported Site University of Alabama: Teacher-In-Residence


  • The TIR was instrumental in recruiting six students into the PhysTEC physics teacher certification program.
  • She successfully developed and taught a new physics courses on high school physics labs.
  • She played an important role in advising and mentoring Learning Assistants.
  • The TIR developed publicity material, including a poster, brochure and a monthly newsletter that was distributed throughout the state.
  • The TIR gave several presentations on the PhysTEC program.
  • She was instrumental in helping students gain earlier teaching experiences in local high schools.
  • The TIR successfully mentored her replacement as a high school physics teacher.
  • The TIR presented teaching strategies to physical science teachers at an externally funded in-service institute.


  • Finding a new TIR each year that has Level 3 Alabama Science In Motion training is challenging.
  • Budgeting for a TIR is unpredictable because of the variability of teacher salaries.
  • The lateness in completing the MOU makes it more difficult to hire a TIR and reach an agreement with the school system.


  • The university has committed to fund the TIR for three years following PhysTEC funding. Efforts to secure continued funding may include sharing a TIR with another department such as Chemistry or having the TIR become part of broader programs such as NSF-Noyce.

Lessons Learned

  • A good TIR is critical to building a successful program.
  • It is important to get an early start in recruiting a new TIR.

List of TIRs over the Project

  • 2012-15: Penni Wallace - Ms. Wallace was a full-time physics teacher at Hillcrest HS in Tuscaloosa, AL with 15 years of teaching experience. She has a master's degree from UA and dual certification to teach physics and chemistry. She also has Level 3 training in Science in Motion in both physics and chemistry.

Finding and Hiring a TIR

  • Having been unable to find a replacement TIR, and having been extremely happy with Ms. Wallace, we have established a position for her at UA. Beginning in August 2014, she will be employed by UA rather than the school system. This makes her position far more stable, and quasi-permanent.

Typical TIR Activities

  • The TIR recruited on an ongoing basis.
  • She developed publicity material, including posters, a brochure, and a monthly newsletter.
  • The TIR taught a high school physics lab course during the fall and spring semesters.
  • She mentored LAs through regular one-on-one meetings, email contact, and visits to classrooms in which LAs were assisting with instruction.
  • The TIR arranged for LAs to obtain early teaching experiences in local high schools.
  • The TIR mentored her replacement at her home high school.