Mines-UNC STEM Teaching Program Selected To Become National Model

March 4, 2015 – The Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) will fund four new sites at five universities to develop their physics teacher education programs into national models. The new projects are Rowan University, Texas State University, West Virginia University, and a joint University of Northern Colorado/ Colorado School of Mines project.

The Mines/UNC initiative draws on the strengths of the two research institutions in providing Mines students with a path to becoming a science or math teacher and inspiring future generations of STEM students. The new teacher preparation program will produce more highly qualified STEM teachers in Colorado, with a special emphasis on middle and high school teachers.

The Mines team includes Vince Kuo and Kristine Callan from the Department of Physics, and Steven DeCaluwe from the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The UNC team members are Wendy Adams and Christy Moroye.

The winning institutions were selected during a two-stage review process that began with a pool of 17 applicants. Awardees demonstrated a capacity for large increases in the number of physics teachers graduating from their programs, as well as strong departmental and institutional support for teacher preparation efforts. Funding for the new sites will begin in Fall 2015.

With the addition of the newly funded sites, the project has funded a total of 45 sites to build physics teacher education programs since it began in 2001. Collectively, these institutions have doubled the number of high school physics teachers graduating from their programs. PhysTEC sites have achieved these successes by increasing teacher recruiting efforts; hiring master teachers to work within physics departments; developing engaging early teaching experiences; improving content and pedagogy courses; and fostering collaboration between physics departments, education schools, and local school districts.

PhysTEC, a flagship education program of the American Physical Society (APS), aims to improve the education of future physics teachers by transforming physics departments, creating successful models for physics teacher education programs, and disseminating best practices. The PhysTEC program is led by APS in partnership with the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), with support from the National Science Foundation. For more information, contact Monica Plisch, Director of PhysTEC and APS Associate Director of Education and Diversity.