APS News | Careers and Education

Celebrating Leaders in Physics Teacher Preparation

Nine colleges and universities received top honors for preparing highly qualified high school physics teachers.

Published Dec 24, 2021

The future of an educated, scientifically literate population depends on high-quality teachers. Yet, across the United States, a majority of high school physics classes are taught by teachers with little to no formal education in physics or training in discipline-specific pedagogy.

The Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) has been addressing the nation’s teacher shortage for more than 20 years. A joint project of APS and the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), PhysTEC has helped over 60 US colleges and universities prepare new, qualified physics teachers to educate the next generation of STEM professionals and informed citizens.

Most colleges and universities graduate fewer than two certified teachers with a background in physics per year. Graduating 5 or more puts an institution in the top 0.1% of institutions for graduating new physics teachers. PhysTEC recognizes those that do through admission to its 5+ Club.

For the 2020-2021 academic year, the members of the 5+ Club are:

  • Brigham Young University (6)
  • Brigham Young University-Idaho (13)
  • The College of New Jersey (6)
  • New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning (5)
  • Rutgers The State University of New Jersey (5)
  • Stony Brook University (5)
  • Texas State University (7)
  • University of Central Florida (6)
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (8)

The newly inducted institutions will receive a letter of commendation co-signed by presidents of APS and AAPT, a certificate of achievement, and designation in the PhysTEC member directory.

PhysTEC is funded by the National Science Foundation and committed to improving and promoting physics teacher education by transforming physics departments, creating successful models for teacher education programs, and disseminating best practices.

For more on PhysTEC and the 5+ Club visit phystec.org.

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