IU South Bend is one of nine colleges and universities nationwide awarded a $30,000 grant from the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) to be used for physics teacher recruiting initiatives to combat the national shortage.
Only one-third of physics teachers possess a physics degree, according to the PhysTEC, and it is the field with the greatest shortage of new teachers. IU South Bend will be utilizing the recruiting grant to improve the Department of Physics and Astronomy by further developing physics teacher education programs and promoting the career opportunities and advantages of a physics major.
“Our proposal for a PhysTEC recruiting grant was motivated first and foremost by a desire to contribute to addressing the national shortage of qualified high school physics teachers. The project will also benefit the Department of Physics and Astronomy, though, if we can get the word out that IU South Bend is a good place to major in physics – whatever your career goals,” said IU South Bend Physics professor, Dr. Jerry Hinnefeld.
To further the initiative, the Department of Physics and Astronomy has implemented “Meet the Teachers” events to feature area physics teachers. The upcoming “Meet the Teachers” event is on Tuesday, April 14 from 5:30 – 7:00 pm in Room 1015 of the Education & Arts Building. The three teachers featured will be:
- Amy Foley of Mishawaka High School and IU South Bend part-time teacher-in-residence
- John Taylor of Elkhart Memorial High School
- James Keating of South Bend Washington High School
The event is open to the public, especially current high school students interested in physics teaching careers. Featured speakers will share their perspectives on why they pursued physics teaching careers, address the rewards and challenges of teaching high school physics, and answer attendee questions.
Past “Meet the Teachers” events have proven successful with recruitment initiatives. The December 2014 event featured IU South Bend physics adjunct lecturer Ms. Beth Marchant and selector for the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows program. After attending the event and learning about the fellowship program, IU South Bend physics alumna Sarah Cukrowicz applied and has been selected for the program.
Dr. Hinnefeld notes that the PhysTEC grant will help create even more career options for IU South Bend physics graduates. “Another outgrowth of the PhysTEC grant is the development, in cooperation with our colleagues in IU South Bend’s School of Education, of a path to licensure for physics teaching for students who earn a B.S. in Physics instead of a B.S. in Education.”
“This constitutes a huge advantage for students who want to keep their options open — who might be undecided between a career in research and a career in secondary teaching. While it is our hope that some of these students will choose a teaching career, we are happy to prepare them for whatever career path they choose.”
For more information on IU South Bend’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, please contact Dr. Henry Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.