Member InstitutionMember Institution Southern Oregon University

Southern Oregon University

Initiatives to Improve SOU’s Teacher Preparation Program

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Prof. Ellen J. Siem

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The Science Teacher Preparation Program at Southern Oregon University (SOU)

Preparation as a high school level physics teacher can be accomplished by attending two of SOU's five schools--the School of Sciences and the School of Education.  Students who want to become physics teachers may work towards a Master of Arts in Teaching after completing a bachelor's degree in physics with a major GPA of 3.0 or greater.  Students interested in teaching physics are encouraged to contact the School of Education two years prior to application for admission for academic advising.

For the bachelor's degree in physics, the student has a number of options in addition to the Standard Physics Option (i.e., Applied Physics, Materials Science, Engineering, and the Physics-Engineering dual degree).  In terms of teacher preparation, this breadth of options is important because it suggests to the students, early in their career, that physics is pervasive, a factor motivating students to learn physics concepts as well as enlighten others (e.g., future high school students) of the physics underlying everyday phenomena.

Obtaining a bachelor's in physics from SOU not only provides a rigorous foundation in and a broad overview of the field, it also develops the students' reasoning, critical thinking, teamwork, and communication skills through the lectures, problems, and laboratories associated with the various required courses.  In addition, it furthers the students' sense of responsibility through the proposal-writing and research involved in the "capstone experience" that is required for all upper-level physics majors.  Developing such skills and qualities undoubtedly contributes to a student's success as a high school physics teacher.