Stony Brook University received “The 5+ Club” Award from the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC), a flagship education program of the American Physical Society (APS). “The 5+ Club” is an elite group of institutions that has graduated five or more physics teachers in a given year. Stony Brook graduated eight highly qualified physics teachers in the academic year 2014-15.
To put this number in perspective, fewer than 20 institutions in the United States graduate five or more physics teachers in most years. In their 2014 report, the American Association for Employment in Education found that the teacher shortage in physics is number one among 59 education fields. Graduating five or more physics teachers a year is a significant achievement and helps address the severe national shortage of high school physics teachers.
“Stony Brook’s faculty in teacher preparation reside in our academic departments,” said Sacha Kopp, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We have committed faculty — not only physics, but in chemistry, math, biochemistry, geosciences, ecology and evolution, and biology — all very invested through their departments and through the Center for Science and Math Education to this important mission.”
According to PhysTEC: Of the approximately 1,400 new teachers who are hired to teach physics each year, only 35 percent have a degree in physics or physics education. Stony Brook University’s efforts are an essential part of helping to address the critical shortage of qualified physics teachers.
Stony Brook offers three programs registered and approved by the New York State Education Department for individuals seeking New York State certification to teach physics in secondary schools, grades 7-12.
PhysTEC aims to improve the education of future physics teachers by transforming physics departments, creating successful models for physics teacher education programs, and disseminating best practices. The PhysTEC program is led by APS in partnership with the American Association of Physics Teachers, with support from the National Science Foundation.