Physics in the Two-Year Colleges. AIP Report.Report as inadecuate

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The study developed a comprehensive and detailed picture of two-year college physics instruction by conducting a survey of 1,417 faculty members who teach classes in the field. There was little difference between full- and part-time faculty in their demographic characteristics. More surprisingly, there was also little difference in academic background. In both groups, a little over one-third held a Ph.D., with almost all the rest holding a master's degree. And, in both groups, roughly two-thirds had earned a graduate degree in physics. During the 1996-97 academic year, some 120,000 students took physics at two-year colleges. Thirty-one percent were women and 15% who were members of minority groups that are traditionally underrepresented in science. Most two-year college physics students were enrolled in the same type of introductory physics course that is taught in four-year schools and universities. Few faculty indicated that they had developed ties to or received regular input from potential employers of two-year college graduates. The major problems cited by full-time faculty included students' weak math backgrounds, insufficient funds for equipment and supplies, and inadequate space for labs/facilities outmoded. The study found extremely high levels of career and job stability. There was a major discrepancy between full- and part-time faculty salaries. The report includes survey instruments, methodology, and previous studies in appendices. (Contains 15 references.) (VWC)

Descriptors: Community Colleges, Physics, Questionnaires, Science Instruction, Science Teachers, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Characteristics, Teacher Surveys, Two Year Colleges

Author: Neuschatz, Michael; Blake, Geneva; Friesner, Julie; McFarling, Mark



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