A new report cites the University of Northern Iowa's physics teacher education program as one of 11 outstanding programs in the nation. 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."
The report, "Transforming the Preparation of Physics Teachers: A Call to Action," was published by the American Physical Society with support from the Physics Teacher Education Coalition. It is intended to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) literacy and increase the number of students who pursue STEM careers. UNI's ranking was based on campus visits as well as research on teacher turnover and student achievement in STEM.
UNI has emphasized teacher education for more than 130 years, and producing quality teachers has long been central to the campus mission and culture. In addition to the summer in-service institutes, the university also offers an undergraduate physics teaching degree track.