January 29, 2015

PhysTEC Recognizes Leaders in Physics Teacher Preparation

Nationwide physics teacher preparation program recognizes colleges and universities helping to address the severe national shortage of high school physics teachers

College Park, MD – The Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) recently announced the initial inductees into “The 5+ Club”, a group of institutions that has graduated 5 or more physics teachers in a given year. The great majority of institutions graduate less than two physics teachers a year, and the most common number of graduates is zero. In their 2014 report, the American Association for Employment in Education found that the teacher shortage in physics is number one among 59 education fields. Graduating 5 or more physics teachers a year is a significant achievement, helping to address the severe national shortage of high school physics teachers.

The institutions recognized include:

Brigham Young University (17)
The College of New Jersey (9)
University of Minnesota (7)
University of Arkansas (7)
Stony Brook University (7)
Brigham Young University-Idaho (7)
Illinois State University (7)
Georgia State University (6)
Rutgers University (6)
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (5)
Kennesaw State University (5)

University of Minnesota (9)
SUNY Geneseo (8)
Seattle Pacific University (8)
Michigan State University (7)
University of Colorado Boulder (6)
SUNY Oneonta (6)
Rutgers University (6)
Virginia Tech University (5)

SUNY Buffalo State (10)
University of Minnesota (6)
Rutgers University (6)
University of Cincinnati (5)
University of Texas at Austin (5)

The United States has a severe, long-term shortage of qualified physics teachers. In fact, in 2013 the National Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics reported, “the need for qualified teachers is greater now than at any previous time in history.” Of the approximately 1400 new teachers who are hired to teach physics each year, only 35% have a degree in physics or physics education.

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 project has funded more than 40 sites to build physics teacher education programs (see www.phystec.org for more details).

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.

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About APS

The American Physical Society is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents over 53,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, MD (Headquarters), Ridge, NY, and Washington, D.C.