2012 Annual Report
Seven New Fundeded Sites Join PhysTEC Program
The Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) project announced in 2012
that it would provide funding for seven universities to assist in the development
of their physics teacher education programs. The PhysTEC project is a joint
program of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American
The newly selected sites are Arizona State University; California Polytechnic
University-Pomona; Central Washington University; James Madison University; University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa;
University of Missouri-
Columbia; and University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. The latest round of awards brings the number of funded PhysTEC
sites across the US to 29.
Bob Hilborn, Associate Executive Officer of AAPT, notes that the joint AAPT/APS project has already made
significant progress towards increasing the number of physics majors interested in high school teaching. “This
year’s solicitation for PhysTEC funding resulted in a set of strong proposals from a broad spectrum of colleges and
universities,” he added.
Workshop Confronts the Health of Physics Education
In June 2012, AAPT and APS held a two-day workshop at the American Center for Physics to tackle the issue of
building physics programs with sustainable, healthy physics enrollments. Recruiting more physics majors creates the
potential for more physics teachers. Representatives from fifty-five institutions, including twenty minority-serving
institutions, attended the sold-out workshop on Building a Thriving Undergraduate Physics Program, which was
sponsored by PhysTEC, AAPT. APS, and the National Science Foundation. The workshop followed the biennial Physics
Department Chairs Conference.
2012 PhysTEC Conference fosters CSU, UC, ACS connections
The eighth annual PhysTEC conference, held February 3-4, 2012 in Ontario, California, hosted 120 science and
math education leaders at the nation’s largest event focusing on physics teacher preparation. This year’s PhysTEC
conference was preceded by a day-long regional conference involving 80 representatives of two math and science
teacher preparation efforts in California.
Members of the Math and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI) of the California State University system and
CalTeach at the University of California came together for the first time to discuss physics and chemistry
teacher preparation efforts. Collaboration between the two distinct groups with similar aims generated healthy
discussion as leaders from both programs offered their insights on issues such as student recruitment and
retention, course transformation, student-centered teaching, and how to consolidate the degree-granting process.
Stephen and Phoebe Roeder from the physics department at San Diego State University found discussions on
increasing enrollment and finding new sources for funding to behighly relevant to their university.
PhysTEC Noyce Program Advances
The PhysTEC Noyce project, now in its fourth year of funding, has developed a unique model for supporting future
physics teachers at each of the university sites. The project hires expert local high school physics teachers as Visiting Master
Teachers (VMTs) to work two to six hours per week mentoring PhysTEC Noyce scholars. The majority of the VMTs have
served as PhysTEC Teachers in Residence in the past, but now have a narrower focus in their position as VMT.
VMTs provide mentoring support for Noyce scholars during their time as Learning Assistants, through the teaching
internship, and during their initial years in the classroom. Common activities include visiting the scholar’s classroom
during student teaching, giving feedback on lesson plans, and providing job search assistance in the form of counseling
and letters of recommendation.