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CSU PhysTEC Conference 2021

Published February 16, 2021

The SoCal PhysTEC Regional Network partnered with the CSU Chancellor's Office to host the CSU PhysTEC Conference 2021 on January 29, 2021 for the CSU-campuses. The conference supported the preparation, recruitment, and retention of future physics teachers.

A total of 84 faculty and staff from 20 CSU campuses attended the conference. The opening and closing sessions were recorded.

Conference themes included:

  • Lessons learned from online teaching and learning
  • Equity/social justice in physics education/physics
  • Collaboration and Networking: Physics and Education
  • Collaboration and Networking: Across CSUs
  • Institutional commitment and sustainability
  • Recruitment: How to recruit students to your physics program? Recruiting students to physics teaching?
  • Supporting Inservice Physics Teachers

The following are the workshops that were offered:

If you can't measure it, you can't improve it: Using the PTEPA rubric to assess your physics teacher education program

The Physics Teacher Education Program Analysis (PTEPA) Rubric from PhysTEC provides a guide for physics teacher education programs. Programs have found it useful for evaluating program strengths and gaps and strategic planning. The rubric and associated materials are at www.phystec.org/thriving and may optionally be completed prior to the workshop.

Presented by Stephanie Chasteen, External Evaluator for PhysTEC - Chasteen Educational Consulting.

Recruiting and Retaining Physics Majors with a PhysTEC Program

We will explore how a teaching induction experience can be used for recruiting and retaining students of diverse backgrounds into the physics major, even under the constraints of a distance-learning model imposed by the pandemic.

Presented by Galen Pickett, Physics and Astronomy Department - CSU Long Beach.

What does it mean to incorporate Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion into your teaching?

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) are buzz words going around right now, but what does it mean to actually include JEDI work into your courses and department? This workshop will start with a self assessment of JEDI work and then talk about meaningful ways to incorporate JEDI work in your home space.

Presented by Ximena Cid, Physics Department Chair - CSU Dominguez Hills.

Undergraduate Pathways Into Teaching Physics

This session will cover three ways of involving undergraduates in opportunities to enter the teacher pathway at CSU East Bay.

  1. Solar Suitcase: The Solar Suitcase class combines teaching social and environmental justice topics with hands-on STEM labs culminating in having students building a small, off-grid, stand alone solar energy system, the Solar Suitcase. 
  2. HOST Labs: Hands On Science Teaching Labs provides early field experiences for CSU East Bay students to serve as science guides for visiting school children. 
  3. Learning Assistants: These undergraduates assist faculty with course transformation into active student learning, and provide embedded, near-peer support to engage students and increase their confidence both in and out of the classroom. 

Presented by Erik Helgren, Physics Department,  Michele Korb, Teacher Education, and Michele de Coteau, STEM Lab Coordinator, CSU East Bay. 

Early Teaching Experiences as a Path Towards Future Physics Teacher Recruitment

We present a unique model for a low-stakes teaching experience for STEM students to understand more about what goes into teaching math or science. We discuss the important components of the program, its role in future teacher recruitment, and include a panel discussion with students who have participated in the program.

Presented by Sara Callori, Physics Department - CSU San Bernardino.

Physics Lab Redesigned for Online Learning with Hands on and Online Components

Our team collaborated to design 9 labs for a non-majors course, each with a hands-on and an online component. Students were supplied with a low cost (<$7) kit of simple materials which were used for the hands-on portion. We modified labs using the Pivot Interactives platform where students analyze high speed video to explore key physics concepts.

Presented by Rod Ziolkowski, Physics and Astronomy and Science Education Departments - CSU Long Beach.

Leveraging MSTI and Noyce to support recruitment of physics teachers

Many CSU campuses have Noyce projects and Math/Science Teacher Initiatives (MSTI). This session will address ways to integrate the programs to build on the goals of each project to recruit and retain physics teachers. This session will also address issues related to the lack of physics teachers from underrepresented populations.

Presented by Donna Ross, School of Teacher Education - San Diego State, and Lawrence Horvath, Graduate College of Education - San Francisco State.

Science aspirations: the source of the flow into the STEM pipeline

Stimulating and maintaining science aspirations among historically underrepresented California youth is the key to addressing the ongoing need for highly qualified physics teachers. I will present my research aimed at understanding the factors that contribute to youth science aspirations in urban Los Angeles secondary schools.

Presented by Leif Andersen Monserratte, Physics Department - CSU Los Angeles, High School Physics Teacher - LAUSD.

Sharing ideas for supporting physics department's efforts to recruit and support physics teachers

Join colleagues and fellow department chairs in a conversation about what CSU physics departments can do to:

  1. Recruit majors with an intent to increase physics teachers.
  2. Encourage students to explore teaching as one of the career pathways.
  3. Develop/maintain the supportive environment for students pursuing the teaching career.
  4. Learn about and utilize resources created by the professional society (APS, AAPT).
  5. Share strategies for partnering with teacher preparation/science education faculty.

Presented by Scott Severson, Physics Department Chair - Sonoma State University and Stephen Tsui, Physics Department Chair - CSU San Marcos.

Networks of Support for Inservice Teachers

Keeping physics teachers in the classroom is as important as recruiting new teachers. Unfortunately, many physics teachers are the sole physics teachers at their school. We present ways to build networks to support physics teaches across schools and reduce the isolation through university based efforts. Online communication through email and social networking help teacher feel connected to the larger community. Professional development (PD) workshops, summer institutes and lesson study projects help bring teachers together. We will discuss how we integrate university events and PD efforts with teacher preparation to build robust teacher networks.

Presented by Brian Foley, College of Education - CSU Northridge.

Epistemologically sophisticated Learning Assistants: agents of course reform and targets for teacher recruitment

The LA program may serve as an excellent teacher recruitment tool by demystifying the instructional preparation required to teach and providing an avenue to experience how gratifying the profession can be. Workshop participants will be presented with research results involving the use of Baxter Magolda's Epistemic Reasoning model to characterize LA beliefs about STEM knowledge and learners, and reflect on the role epistemology needs to play in their own teacher education programs.

Presented by Ben Lutz, Laura Ríos, Brian Self, and Stamatis Vokos, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Get the Facts Out: Teaching, The Best Kept Secret!

In this workshop, participants will dig into data many students and faculty find surprising about the teaching profession. We will share strategies and resources for sharing the facts about the profession so that students will have accurate information about their career prospects.

Presented by Wendy Adams, Savannah Logan, and Jared Breakall - Get The Facts Out.

Physics Outreach: Building Confidence and Competence for Teaching Science Among Future K-12 Teachers

"Physics Pedagogy and Outreach" is a service-learning course for physics majors, future K-12 teachers, and other Fresno State students. NGSS-informed, interactive physics demonstrations are conducted at multiple school sites, providing students with valuable science teaching experience and confidence in teaching physics. Our on-campus planetarium will also be highlighted.

Presented by Carol Fry Bohlin (C&I Dept. Chair and MSTI Director), Doug Singleton (Chair, Physics Department), and Don Williams (Physics Instructor) – California State University, Fresno; Eric Madrigal – Parlier High School).


This conference was supported by CSU Chancellor's Office (Math-Science Teacher Imitative MSTI-STEM Challenge) and PhysTEC and the Southern California PhysTEC Regional Network.

The California State University - Office of the Chancellor

Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC)