Jess & Mildred Fisher College of 
			 Science & Mathematics

Community Outreach and STEM Education

Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC)

Historial Information

The Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) project is a nationwide project that has the mission of improving and promoting the education of future physics teachers. At each of the PhysTEC sites around the United States, physics faculty, education faculty, and a full-time teacher-in-residence (TIR) work together to improve secondary physics education programs.

Jim Selway, 2010-2011 Teacher in Residence, with Dr. Ron Herman and Dr. Cody Sandifer
Left to right: Cody Sandifer, Lisa Rainey
and Ron Hermann

Towson University's most recent PhysTEC project ran from 2010-2013. The project team consisted of Dr. Ronald Hermann and Dr. Cody Sandifer, two full-time science education faculty in the Department of Physics, Astronomy & Geosciences (PAGS), and a full-time TIR. The 2012-2013 TIR was Lisa Rainey, a former Baltimore County physics teacher and Harford County Community College administrator.

The following is a brief description of the ways in which Towson's PhysTEC project enhanced and restructured existing efforts in physics education recruitment, retention, and induction and mentoring.

  • The PhysTEC project team made a concerted effort to expose physics majors early in their academic career to (a) the possibility of teaching as a career and (b) actual teaching experiences at both the K-12 and university levels. This was done through general advertising (posters, open meetings, classroom visits), school- and outreach-based early teaching courses (SCIE 170), and the STEM-TC learning assistant program.

  • Active learning improvements were made to the courses in the lower division physics sequence and the secondary science teaching methods course. The host teachers for physics education student teachers were more carefully selected, oriented, and supported.

  • Other efforts were geared towards helping our education majors develop a greater sense of belonging to an educational community. These efforts included the creation of a comprehensive physics education web site, the establishment of a new secondary STEM education club, formal and informal discussions with the physics TIR, and the funding of small grants that allow education majors to attend and present at NSTA and AAPT meetings.

More information may be found on the

The Towson PhysTEC project is co-directed by:
Dr. Cody Sandifer
Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences
Towson University
  Dr. Ronald Hermann
Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences
Towson University

The Jess and Mildred Fisher
College of Science and Mathematics
Smith Hall, Room 312 (campus map)
Phone: 410-704-2121
Fax: 410-704-2604



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