Supported SiteSupported Site University of Missouri-Columbia: Teacher-In-Residence


  • We were very pleased to hire a TIR with extensive classroom experience (more than 25 years), as well as more than ten years' experience working with MU physics faculty to help develop and teach professional development programs for in-service physics teachers.
  • The TIR taught a new course on "Teaching Physics" with excellent responses.
  • The TIR successfully coordinated the LA program, serving as a key liaison between Columbia Public Schools (CPS) teachers and MU students.
  • The successful collaboration between the LAs and their supporting teachers lead to after school physics help sessions called "Physics and Pizza".


  • It has been difficult to match LA schedules with the new high school block schedule.
  • The replacement teacher for the TIR continues to need extensive mentoring support. However, the time spent in the school also allowed the TIR daily contact with LAs placed in that school.


  • MU has committed to supporting a 0.5 FTE teaching faculty who would carry out responsibilities currently overseen by the TIR. The new hire will ideally have secondary physics teaching experience.

Lessons Learned

  • We negotiated a deal with the local school district whereby the TIR would continue to be funded by the school, and PhysTEC would fund the TIR's replacement. The deal almost fell through when we learned that the principal has greater power over local hiring decisions than the superintendent. Lesson learned - gain buy-in from all administrators. The collaboration with administration continues to be a key factor in negotiating a TIR replacement.

List of TIRs over the Project

  • 2012-2014: Doug Steinhoff - has been teaching ninth grade physics for over 25 years, most recently at Jefferson Junior High School, where he was also science department chair for 12 years.

Finding and Hiring a TIR

  • It is essential to build relationships with physics teachers. Here are some ways we have done this:
    • Offering a professional development program for ninth grade physics teachers across Missouri, A TIME for Physics First ( Our current TIR is a peer teacher for this program and also serves on the management team. We have a pool of interested future TIR's, including both teachers and mentors in the program.
    • Creating a Teacher Advisory Group to build additional relationships.
    • Getting to know teachers who are involved in the College of Education. Our TIR candidates included an adjunct instructor in the College of Education, and a doctoral student in the MU science education program (who also served as a peer instructor and a mentor for Physics First).

Typical TIR Activities

  • The TIR coordinates the LA program (finding host-teachers, handling schedules, running meetings, and making classroom visits).
  • The TIR engages in informal mentoring of new graduates and undergraduates doing student teaching internship. We are exploring the possibility of formalizing the mentor role.
  • The TIR assists with recruiting efforts including visits to physics and education courses, posting flyers around campus, and making presentations to MU students and current physics teachers across Missouri.
  • The TIR teaches the physics pedagogy course.