CEDAR FALLS, Iowa --The University of Northern Iowa's physics department has been cited as having one of the outstanding physics teacher education programs in the nation. This recognition was noted in "Transforming the Preparation of Physics Teachers: A Call to Action," a national report published by the American Physical Society with support from the Physics Teacher Education Coalition.
UNI's physics department was recognized for developing in-service physics teacher education programs that prepare teachers to earn state physics endorsements. Accolades were also given for the department's efforts to develop teachers' physics-specific expertise, offering programs designed for in-service teachers in small rural schools and encouraging physics department engagement in teacher education.
"We are excited that our long-term commitment to provide quality professional preparation of Iowa physics teachers has been nationally recognized," said Larry Escalada, UNI professor of physics and science education. "Our efforts not only provide a model for physics teacher preparation for in-service teachers but for pre-service teachers who will be teaching in Iowa schools in the future."
Department recognition was based on a campus visit by members of the Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics (T-TEP). The task force report was published to contribute to the nation's efforts to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) literacy and increase the abilities of a STEM-capable workforce and students who pursue STEM careers.
UNI has emphasized teacher education for more than 130 years, and producing quality teachers has long been central to the campus mission and culture. The university has an undergraduate physics teaching degree track and offers externally funded summer institutes that enable in-service high school science teachers to obtain an endorsement to teach physics. The summer in-service institutes were the focus of the American Physical Society's report and its citation.
For information about UNI's Department of Physics, visit www.physics.uni.edu