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By Leah Poffenberger
As the US faces a shortage of qualified high school physics teachers, the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) continues to support the growth of programs across the country focused on creating physics educators. To assist in this mission, PhysTEC awards Recruiting Grants to PhysTEC member institutions to increase their recruitment, retention, and graduation rates of would-be physics teachers. This year’s Recruiting Grant recipients are: St. Mary’s College of Maryland; University of North Georgia; Lewis University; California State University, San Bernardino; and Bridgewater State University.
“We were very pleased with the quality of proposals that were submitted—it shows that PhysTEC’s efforts to support the larger community are bearing fruit, and we are especially happy to be working with these five awardees,” says Monica Plisch, Director of Programs at APS. “Each of them carefully assessed their current program for preparing teachers, and proposed initiatives that would strategically leverage the strengths of their department and institution.”
Each awardee will receive $25,000 for the purpose of undergoing a two-year improvement plan to implement best practices found in the Physics Teacher Education Program Analytics (PTEPA) Rubric. This rubric arose from a PhysTEC project that studied highly successful physics teacher education programs and suggests ways that other PhysTEC institutions can improve their programs.
“Although the grant recipients are relatively small institutions, each of them has the potential to increase significantly the number of qualified physics teachers it prepares,” says Plisch.
PhysTEC is a partnership between APS and the American Association of Physics Teachers, with a network of over 300 institutions dedicated to creating a new generation of qualified physics teachers. PhysTEC has provided funding to more than 40 postsecondary educational institutions across the US through the Recruiting Grants and Comprehensive Grants to improve physics teacher education.
“We really pleased to see so many proposals from Bachelor's-granting departments,” says Plisch. “Collectively, these departments educate over half of the well-prepared physics teachers in the nation, and they are critical to solving the K-12 physics teacher shortage.”
For more on PhysTEC visit phystec.org.
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Editor: David Voss
Staff Science Writer: Leah Poffenberger
Contributing Correspondent: Alaina G. Levine
Publication Designer and Production: Nancy Bennett-Karasik