UNI physics teacher education program receives national recognition for summer institutes

A new report published by the American Physical Society, with support from the Physics Teacher Education Coalition, cites the University of Northern Iowa's physics teacher education program as one of 11 outstanding programs in the nation. Noted in report, "Transforming the Preparation of Physics Teachers: A Call to Action," UNI's Department of Physics was recognized for developing summer institutes that enable high school science teachers to earn endorsements to teach physics and for offering programs designed for teachers in small rural schools. 

"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.

According to Kent Johnson, Dean of Continuing Education, "UNI takes great pride in delivering a rich array of high-quality courses and programs that help teachers secure specialized endorsements or increase their knowledge in specific areas. We value our relationship with Dr. Escalada and the exemplary work he carries out with this program." 

Academic outreach has been a critical part of the university's mission since 1913. Serving the needs of Iowa through innovative, high quality programs, like the physics teacher education program is an area of emphasis for the university. Notes Johnson, "There are a multitude of professional development options available to teachers from many sources. We are confident that students won't find any better learning opportunities than UNI offers. The physics program is an excellent example."