Seminar Details

A Physics Departmentís Role in Addressing National Crises in Physics Education

Valerie Otero, University of Colorado - Boulder
Thursday, April 26, 4:10 PM - Physics and Astronomy Colloquium
Biomedical & Physical Sciences Bldg., Rm. 1415

U.S. physics education faces serious challenges: undergraduates and high school students are inadequately prepared, and there is a critical shortage of K-12 teachers. The Colorado Learning Assistant (LA) model helps address these intertwined problems: it provides an easy-to-adapt program that both enhances university-level science instruction and improves science teacher recruitment and preparation. I present evidence from discipline-based educational research that the Colorado Learning Assistant model positively impacts undergraduate student performance while at the same time significantly increases the number and quality of K12 teachers. It also engages research faculty in improving undergraduate instruction, including upper division, as well as in taking some responsibility for recruiting and preparing their majors for all careers, including K-12 science teaching. I will also discuss the recent report of the National Task Force for Teacher Education in Physics as well as give some information about the recent National Research Councilís Committee on Undergraduate Physics Education.