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Phys21 Case Studies - AAPT Summer 2017


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As part of the Joint Task Force on Undergraduate Physics Programs
SUMMER MEETING JULY 22-26 Cincinnati, OH
How Can We Implement Phys21
(J-TUPP), I was commissioned to develop a series of “case studies”
of exemplary programs: Undergraduate physics programs that had implemented signi cant activities to prepare their physics students
for diverse careers. e varied approaches used by these programs are inspirational. Some programs were very intentional about focusing on student experience, others focused on curricular innovations, embraced experimentation and continuous improvement, or focused on novel and exciting science. In this talk I will share what these philosophies looked like in practice, including particularly transportable ideas and processes (e.g., assessment committees, strong public relations, strategies for the introductory course, career seminars). In this talk, you will learn about the strategies used in this program and how they might inform work at your home institution.

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Phys21 Case Studies - AAPT Summer 2017

  1. 1. HOW CAN WE IMPLEMENT PHYS21 RECOMMENDATIONS? CASE STUDIES FROM PROGRAMS. Stephanie Chasteen Chasteen Educational Consulting This work is supported by NSF under DUE # 1540570.
  2. 2. WHAT WE DID 5 departments with significant activities to support student success; Mixture of large and small, public and private. • Carthage College (Wisconsin) • Florida State University • St. Mary’s College of Maryland • University of California Davis • University of Wisconsin La Crosse Looked for consensus at the site about most key strategies.
  3. 3. WHAT DID THESE DEPARTMENTS DO THAT’S SO GREAT? Effective strategies Empowering processes
  4. 4. WHAT DID THESE DEPARTMENTS DO THAT’S SO GREAT? Effective strategies Empowering processes
  5. 5. WHAT DID THESE DEPARTMENTS DO THAT’S SO GREAT? Effective strategies Empowering processes • Intro course reforms • Undergraduate research • First year seminars • Flexible major
  6. 6. WHAT DID THESE DEPARTMENTS DO THAT’S SO GREAT? Effective strategies Empowering processes • Intro course reforms • Specialized courses • Career seminars • Multiple pathways into degree • Strong vision • Intentional action • Embrace experimentation • Publicizing results
  8. 8. NEED YOUR GOALS TO DRIVE YOUR CURRICULUM? Learning goals to support diverse careers: Phys21 Report, Ch Use an assessment committee “Don’t skimp on assessment… you’ll be surprised at how often you’ll learn something useful. And if you don’t assess yourselves, someone else will.” – Julie Dahlstrom (chair, Carthage) La Crosse, Carthage “Without the program goals, we may not have thought about implementing [the assessment committee]” – Eric Gansen (faculty, La Crosse)
  9. 9. NEED TO RECRUIT OR RETAIN MORE, & MORE DIVERSE, STUDENTS? • Intro course offered every semester, same time. • “Excitement first, math second.” • Algebra or calculus based intro course fulfills requirement Redesigning the major: Phys21 Report, Chapter Offer multiple pathways into the degree Offer multiple degree tracks • Formal or informal tracks or concentrations aligned w/ faculty areas • 3-2 engineering programs La Crosse, Carthage “Pay attention to the flow of the major and appeal to diverse students” - Jean Quashnock (former chair, Carthage)
  10. 10. NEED TO IMPROVE STUDENT LEARNING, COMMUNITY, OR RECRUITMENT? • AAPT New Faculty Workshop • Integrated lab/lecture (e.g., Studio/SCALE-UP) Designing or Redesigning Courses, Phys21 Report, Ch Use active learning in the introductory course Make a majors- focused intro course • Separate course or section for physics-interested students • Honors course “Spending 6 hours a week together builds strong relationships, and helps them to be more durable physics majors,” Paul Cottle (faculty, Florida State) La Crosse, Carthage, St. Marys, Florida, Da
  11. 11. NEED TO IMPROVE STUDENT SKILLS IN THE MAJOR? • Calculus support class • Physics Problem Solving and Communicating Physics classes Provide courses in essential skills Designing or Redesigning Courses, Phys21 Report, Ch La Crosse, Carthage, St. Marys, Florida, Da
  12. 12. NEED TO PREPARE FOR CAREERS? Create career seminar or curriculum• One-credit seminar series • Career curriculum in intro course Designing or Redesigning Courses, Phys21 Report, Ch La Crosse, Carthage, St. Marys, Florida, Da
  13. 13. NEED CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES TO RETAIN STUDENTS & IMPROVE LEARNING? • Emerging Scholars program, especially for URMs • Events focused on women or URMs Co-Curricular Activities, Phys21 Report, Chapt Support undergraduate research Support students & community • Faculty teaching load credit • Support through curriculum La Crosse, Carthage, St. Marys, Florida, Da “Our students have a sense of belonging. – Randy Harris, Davis.
  15. 15. ENACTING PROGRAMMATIC CHANGE Phys21 recommends strategic planning at the department level, to empower the department as the unit of change. • Get to know your students • Adopt learning goals • Map learning goals to program components • Develop a plan and implement it • Assess results • Support continuous improvement Phys21 Report, Chapter 6 Here is how these case study departments embodied those philosophical recommendations, in ways that empowered change.
  16. 16. BE INTENTIONAL “Have a clear sense of your mission,” Julie Dahlstrom (chair) “Don’t expect miraculous results in a year or two. Almost everything we tried didn’t work out well the first time. Believe in your vision, and persist.”– Kevin Crosby (former chair) Decide on a vision for your students and follow it.
  17. 17. EMBRACE EXPERIMENTATION “You have to be willing to say yes more than no.” – Charles Adler (former chair) “It’s much easier because we’re all doing it,” – Erin DePree (faculty) Take responsibility for change, and support it with data, formal review, and leveraging national efforts. “Don’t worry about the budget,” - Josh Grossman (chair)
  18. 18. COLLABORATE AND PUBLICIZE ”Give the administration what they want,” Gubbi Sudhakaran (chair) Work with other units and administration and make your work visible.
  19. 19. SUPPORT A STRONG UNDERGRADUATE COMMITTEE & ADVISORS “We are committed to our undergraduates. We put people in the intro class who like what they’re doing.” – Randy Harris (Davis)
  20. 20. THANK YOU! Download report and case studies at ort.cfm Find me at, or Thank you to AAPT and APS and the J-TUPP committee for leading this work, which is supported by NSF under DUE # 1540570. Check out our new directory of physics education consultants (BETA) at http://physport. org/consultants