Announcing Four New PhysTEC Sites

PhysTEC is pleased to announce awards to four new sites: Appalachian State University, Texas A&M University-Commerce, the University of Kansas, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

These new PhysTEC Supported Sites are well poised to dramatically improve their physics teacher education programs and have impacts beyond their campuses, serving as national models for program improvement.

New Comprehensive Sites

Building on the rapid growth in the number of physics majors at Texas A&M University in Commerce, project leaders plan to attract many more of them to physics teaching and implement new supports for them on their pathway through the program. They will develop new recruiting materials and advertise in lower division STEM classes, at university events, and at local high schools and community colleges, and through connections with local industry.

Appalachian State will focus on developing an understanding of best practices in collaborating with rural school districts and with first-generation college goers as well look for ways to strengthen retention of physics secondary education students and teachers.

At the University of Kansas, project leaders will integrate PhysTEC with the existing UKanTeach program for preparing STEM teachers. The result will be new pathways for physics majors to become teachers, and opportunities for those majoring in mathematics and other STEM fields to get physics minors and certification to teach physics. In addition, they will impanel an external advisory board, consisting of area high school physics teachers and administrators, to mentor newly graduated teachers and provide an outside assessment of their teacher preparation program.

In the same vein, Worcester Polytechnic Institute will not only seek new ways to improve recruitment efforts, but will also coordinate advising and mentoring for students in the program, with faculty, in-service teachers, academic advisors, and the STEM Education Center, and create an assessment model to determine factors that influence the recruitment and retention of students that pursue careers as physics teachers.

General Information

These new Comprehensive sites are expected to graduate relatively large numbers of teachers, with the aim of becoming thriving programs that graduate five or more physics teachers per year. The project will offer up to $100,000 a year for 3 years for the institution to achieve their project goals. In addition, they will be able to network with the best programs throughout the country.

Each site will also be addressing the six PTEPA rubric standards: institutional commitment, leadership and collaboration, recruitment, knowledge and skills for teaching physics, mentoring and professional support, and assessment.