UNC-Mines STEM Teaching Program Selected to Become National Model

The Physics Teacher Education Coalition will provide a $320,000 grant to the University of Northern Colorado and Colorado School of Mines to develop their collaborative teacher preparation program into a national model.

The joint program, announced last year in response to a U.S. presidential goal to prepare 100,000 new STEM teachers over the next decade, is among four programs selected out of 17 submitted from across the country.

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, when the UNC-CSM program is expected to begin.

The UNC-CSM partnership is the Physics Teacher Education Coalition's first multi-institution site, which brings together a leading teacher education institution with a technically focused university. UNC's Wendy Adams (principal investigator) and co-principal investigators Christy Moroye (UNC), Vince Kuo (CSM) and Kristine Callan oversee the project, which has also received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

"We were pleased to have received such strong proposals that promise to develop new models for physics teacher education," said Monica Plisch, director of Physics Teacher Education Coalition and American Physical Society associate director of Education and Diversity.

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.

For more about the Physics Teacher Education Coalition, visit www.phystec.org

On a Related Note

UNC in December organized and hosted the Colorado STEM Teacher Preparation Symposium, bringing together 100 faculty and staff members from 13 higher education institutions, 10 K-12 school districts and eight non-profit organizations to discuss strategies for developing quality STEM teachers in the state. The symposium's findings will be released this spring.