Supported SiteSupported Site University of Missouri-Columbia: Collaboration


  • We maintained excellent ongoing communication between physics and education regarding students interested in becoming future teachers.
  • In 2013-2014, the education and physics advisors met with each other for the first time in years, resulting in revisions to the academic plan and advising documents for physics education majors.


  • We found that we needed to carefully protect our good relationship with education faculty. In some meetings that we facilitated, outsiders of the project (i.e. from greater physics community) could come across as overly critical of secondary education programs.


  • The new 0.5 FTE teaching faculty position will be jointly appointed in College of Education and in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
  • Since 2012, the PI has served on three doctoral/masters committees in science education, and two NSF-supported grants for K-12 science and physics teachers (with both physics and science education faculty) and will continue to look for service opportunities at the intersection of physics and education.
  • We have initiated conversations about a dual degree program to certify students in both physics and math education, which would be a huge benefit to rural districts (who can't usually hire someone who teaches only physics).

Lessons Learned

  • Collaborations with College of Education had previously been limited to science education faculty. We quickly realized the need to build new relationships with education staff, including advisors for all of education (not just secondary science) and the education field placement officer.
  • Slow but persistent dedication among the collaborators can lead to improvements in degree plans and open conversations about future course reform.
  • Some elements of course and degree program reform will need more patience and persistence, particularly those that are constrained by state requirements.


  • The advising plan was revised by adding and dropping elective courses and clarifying dual degree requirements for physics education majors.
  • We've opened a discussion for future course revision in secondary science education, including courses both in the College of Education and in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
  • We invited Dr. Carl Wenning, former program director for the Physics Teacher Education Program at Illinois State University, to present at our department colloquium. Under his leadership (1994-2008), the program grew from a small handful of physics education majors to about 60 majors, making it one of the largest programs in the country.