Colorado School of Mines
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Dr. H. Vince Kuo
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Colorado School of Mines (CSM) and the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) have entered into an agreement to create a unique program that offers a path towards licensure for CSM students. UNC is the premier teacher preparation institution in the State of Colorado (CO), and CSM is a highly selective, small public research university devoted to engineering and applied science, with special expertise in the development and stewardship of the Earth’s natural resources. Nationally, average composite SAT/ACT scores of those who enter teaching are far below those who go into engineering, research, science and other related fields1. CSM students sit in the top 5% of students in the nation with an average ACT score of 30 which means any CSM students who pursue teaching will be top in the nation in content preparation as measured by the ACT.
Currently the only options for a CSM graduate to become certified to teach physics are to enroll in a post-baccalaureate (i.e. postbac) or a master’s program at another institution or to join an alternative licensure program such as Teach for America ®. A handful of CSM graduates pursue this route each year, but it is neither a straightforward path nor an ideal preparation. The innovative program proposed here will establish a model for collaboration between a teaching institution and an engineering school that produces well trained graduates through an integrated program that is part of the students’ degrees. Teacher Candidates will be specifically recruited from both the Engineering Physics and the Mechanical Engineering (ME) Departments.
A parallel goal to improving physics teachers’ preparation is the strengthening of the physics instruction to current UNC elementary teacher candidates, increasing their interest in and ability to teach physical science in elementary school.