The College of New Jersey’s School of Science and School of Education continue to combat the national shortage of physics teachers by producing qualified educators at a pace that ranks among the best in the nation.
The Physics Teacher Education Coalition has once again recognized TCNJ with the 5+ Award for graduating five well-prepared physics teachers in the 2021–2022 academic year.
The 5+ Award is given to the 0.1% of all U.S. institutions that graduate five or more future high school physics teachers in a single year. In 2021-22, only seven institutions achieved this distinction. TCNJ has earned this honor in three of the last five years, putting the college among national leaders.
“The U.S. is experiencing a prolonged and worsening shortage of highly qualified high school physics teachers, which is consistently ranked as the most urgent national high school content-area shortage,” said Nate Magee, chair of TCNJ’s physics department. “Sustaining and growing this critical program over the past five years has been an important priority. The pandemic and other systemic challenges to national public teacher education have made this particularly challenging, which makes this honor all the more rewarding.”
A $1.2 million National Science Foundation Noyce grant to TCNJ’s physics department has provided 40 full-tuition scholarships to TCNJ physics education students from 2016–2023. These Noyce scholars are committed to teaching in schools with high demonstrated need.
Beyond the undergraduates counted by PhysTEC, TCNJ’s graduate program in Urban Education has graduated five additional students with both deep physics expertise and unique training for effective teaching practices at high need urban schools.
“The college’s successes in preparing highly qualified teachers of physics is extremely important,” said Tabitha Dell’Angelo, interim dean of the TCNJ School of Education. “The analytical and quantitative reasoning skills supported in high quality physics instruction not only connects mathematics to real world problems, these skills are a prerequisite for many fields including engineering, environmental science, chemistry and more.”
The 5+ Award is the highest award available for teacher preparation from the PhysTEC, a joint project of the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers.
— Luke Sacks