The 5+ Club

5+ Club pic 2

Physics site leaders (Dr. Rahman and Dr. Chini), Dr. Malcolm Bulter from CEDHP, Teacher-in-Residence, Kevin Thomas and the Spring 2014 Learning Assistant cohort.

The University of Central Florida is proud to be one of the new 2016 inductees into The 5+ Club. The 5+ Club is a special initiative program run by the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC). It is a group of institutions that has graduated five or more highly qualified physics teachers in the last academic year. This program is just one of the many exemplary programs that promote physics teacher education.

The great majority of institutions graduate less than two physics teachers a year, and the most common number of graduates is zero. UCF was fortunate enough to have 6 graduates in the 2013-2014 academic year.

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 5 or more physics teachers a year is a significant achievement, helping to address the severe national shortage of high school physics teachers.

The UCF Physics department is part of the national PhysTEC. PhysTEC at UCF aims to increase the production of high school Physics teachers and transform the learning environment for our students. The UCF Physics Department received a PhysTEC comprehensive site grant, helping them become one of only 30 such sites funded by the organization.

The PhysTEC grant was a collaborative grant, designed to be a partnership between the Physics department and the College of Education and Human Performance (CEDHP). Although the grant will be ending this summer, it helped lay a foundation for continued collaboration between the two colleges.

The students who were recommend for the 5+ club had to get certified in a CEDHP teaching program, as well a physics program. The CEDHP worked with the students on the instructional level, teaching them how to teach, while the physics department focused on providing the students with a solid foundation in physics.

Already in place is a B.A. program in physics with an education concentration, for students who want to teach physics after they graduate. The physics department continually working with the CEDHP to improve and expand the program.

PhysTEC at UCF has been led by the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and supported by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) and National Science Foundation (NSF).

Pegasus Professor Talat Rahman, Ph.D., attended the 2016 PhysTEC Conference in Baltimore, MD to accept UCF’s 5+ club award. Dr. Rahman expressed how UCF being admitted into the 5+ Club “…is a milestone for us and I want to thank [UCF and the administration] for their support.”

The 5+ awards were announced at the conference and the winners will be recognized with a letter to their university presidents and an ad in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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