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The TYC Isolation Study
A White Paper
Mary Beth Monroe, Southwest Texas Junior College, (830) 591-7224,
John Enger, Northwest College, 307) 754-6457, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas L. O’Kuma, Lee College, (281) 425-6522, email@example.com
· The Meaning of Isolation
- An Awareness of Isolation
- A Need for Networks
- The AIP Survey
· Breaking the Barriers
- By Recognizing a Need
- With Leadership
- With Communication
- With Scholarship
- By Addressing a Common Goal
· Action Plan
In 1989, the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and the National
Science Foundation jointly funded a topical conference entitled "Critical Issues
In Two-Year College Physics and Astronomy-1990 and Beyond." Gerald Wheeler, then President of AAPT, stated in his opening remarks to the 1989 forum: "For this conference one common point is obvious to me: the two-year college physics programs are invisible to most of the physics community. Yet, if one makes a quick study of the numbers, it becomes obvious that the two-year college is taking on an increasingly important role in educating our public. All of us need to exchange ideas and know about
one another's work." (Wheeler, 1990).
In 1993, upon request from the two-year college members of AAPT, a major initiative entitled "The Two-Year College in the Twenty-First Century, Breaking Down Barriers (TYC21)" was conceived. TYC21 was designed to take the first step in addressing this isolation, or lack of visibility, by creating a personal and self-sustaining network of two-year college physics faculty, beginning at the local level. The originators of the reform effort envisioned that if the barriers of isolation were indeed broken, the project had the potential of creating in the country a strong and fresh new voice in introductory physics education.
In the Summer 1994 in tandem with the Summer Meeting at the University of Notre Dame, AAPT hosted the first leadership training retreat for the nine-member Steering Committee and identified leaders from each of the fifteen created TYC21 regions (AAPT, 1995a). In a keynote address, Robert Beck Clark (Clark, 1994) clearly described the need for networking among the two-year colleges:
"The key and essential role of two-year colleges in physics today
in the United States is one of the best kept secrets in the physics community
and the great impact of two-year colleges in the teaching of introductory
physics is not fully appreciated!
"Hence, there is a critical need for networks among two-year college
physics faculty members. The isolation of many who teach in two-year
colleges is often far greater than that of their colleagues in four year [colleges] or
secondary schools. This isolation is exacerbated by small physics faculties,
heavy teaching loads, and administrators with little sympathy for the critical need
for continuing professional development of their faculty members. The high
percentage of part-time faculty members who traditionally have had neither
the time nor the disposition to be involved in professional development
programs adds to the isolation."
Upon the announcement of funding in 1995 from the National Science Foundation, Division of Undergraduate Education, AAPT formally launched the TYC21 program. The organization's publication, AnnounceR, sought to engage members of the two-year college community with the advertisement, "An Invitation to Involvement" featured in each publication during the past four years. The program description reflects the three themes emerging as the project sought ways to combat isolation: leadership, communication and scholarship:
"TYC21 will improve the quality of physics education in the United
States by developing and enhancing communication among two-year college
physics faculty. The primary goals of the program are accomplished through
a series of regional and national meetings, as well as newsletters and
electronic communication. These meetings and communications provide a
forum for sharing new educational curriculum models and teaching
techniques within the physics education community and promoting the
establishment of partnerships with higher education and with industry and
government." (AnnounceR, 1999)
During the past four years, the project has successfully addressed the critical issue of isolation within the two-year college community. Fourteen of the fifteen regions continue to organize and host local activities and TYC21 leaders from fourteen regions participated in the 1999 Two-Year College National Conference held in tandem with the Summer AAPT Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. The local meetings have involved more than 500 physics faculty from two-year colleges and the AAPT membership from two-year colleges has increased by about 200 since the early 1990's. The acronym, TYC21, is referenced in many AAPT Section reports and letters of congratulations for success have been received from the professional organizations of American Association of Community Colleges, United States Department of Education, American Council on Education, American Institute of Physics, and League for Innovations.
The TYC21 has accomplished the Project Vision framed and drafted by the nine-member project Steering Committee during the Spring 1995 (AAPT, 1995):
"The Two-Year College in the Twenty-First Century: Breaking
Down Barriers" (TYC21) will improve the quality of physics education
in the United States by developing and enhancing communication among
two-year college physics faculty.
"The project will motivate involvement among two-year college
physics faculty members by creating opportunities to network and share
ideas on a professional and personal level. TYC21 will increase
opportunities for outreach and community partnerships, validate personal
teaching experiences, and empower these two-year college teaching faculty
within the whole physics community.
"By developing a strong, vigorous, and valuable network, the
TYC21 project will become self-sustaining. Leaders will emerge and
relationships will form that promote continuing opportunities for
networking, communication, and dissemination of information.
Through regional and national collaborative efforts, two-year college
faculty members will become more visible within the physics community
and the isolation experienced by many two-year college physics faculty
members will be greatly reduced."
The Meaning of Isolation
The leaders of TYC21 launched the project with isolation described by one of two scenarios or the combination of both: the two-year college's lack of visibility in the larger physics community and the lack of active communication among two-year college physics faculty and between two-year college faculty and other members of the larger physics community. During the term of the project, the Steering Committee and regional leaders have learned more about the perception of isolation from members of this community and the impact of isolation on both the teaching and learning within their introductory physics classrooms.
The literature provides information strongly indicating that isolation is not a condition unique to the physics faculty at two-year colleges. Alfred and Linder (Alfred, 1992) describe an isolation between faculty and administration arising from the different goals of the groups. Kimmel, Kerr and O'Shea (Kimmel, 1988) offer suggestions for identifying resources which can address the issue of isolation among in-service teachers at the pre-college level. In a 1986 report from the United States Department of Education (USDE, 1986), a connection is made between professional isolation and effective teaching.
Massey, Wilger, and Colbeck (Massey, 1994) state that isolation is a characteristic of the life of a teacher: "Overwhelmingly, our respondents identified a central reality of academic life: faculty work alone. Even junior faculty work in relative isolation, receiving little guidance from departmental colleagues or even chairs." The researchers also address the isolation of faculty from campus colleagues. They contribute this isolation to the structure of the academic departments, departments which group individual faculty with different specialties. While this structure does afford us the opportunity to "rub elbows" with colleagues in other disciplines, our separate specialties inhibit the ability of teaching faculty to interact with each other. They also identify tight resources and the prevailing methods of evaluation and reward as contributors to this type of isolation.
There is little documentation addressing professional isolation among community college faculty. Block (Block, 1991) suggests that the lack of discipline based research at the community college has contributed to the isolation many faculty experience:
"Community college faculty members, especially in career and technical programs, often do not have the support they need to keep abreast of their profession. Many feel isolated - out of touch with colleagues in their fields. We find it especially disturbing that 63 percent of the community college faculty in a national survey rated the intellectual environment at their institution as 'fair' or 'poor'. In a climate such as this, teaching effectiveness is diminished and the potential for excellence is lost." In addition, faculty at two-year colleges normally do not engage in professional activities beyond the preparation of classes. The single focus on teaching with little inclusion of scholarship does explain the early success of the community college, but with time, this environment has produced faculty with "no professional lives apart from their teaching."
Pederson (Pederson, 1989) adds:
"The failure of most community colleges to embrace an institutional value system which supports discipline-based research has cut the institution off from the dynamic quality of the disciplines and the larger intellectual culture. The effect of this isolation on community college faculty has been profound. More importantly [this failure] has created two separate and unequal classes of undergraduate student."
Although not specifically addressing the two-year college, Massy, Wilger and Colbeck (Massey, 1994) make the following comment with regard to the undergraduate institutions:
"Three key features of academic departments constrain faculty in their ability to work together on teaching. First, fragmented communication patterns isolate individual faculty members and prevent them from interacting around issues of undergraduate education. Second, tight resources limit opportunities and strain faculty relationships. Third, prevailing methods of evaluation and reward undermine attempts to create an environment more conducive to faculty interaction."
An Awareness of Isolation
The awareness of isolation for two-year college physics faculty may not have been clearly stated until Wheeler's opening remarks in the Critical Issues in Two-Year College Physics and Astronomy - 1990 and Beyond Conference. Robert E. Parilla, President of Montgomery College, also commented at the same conference (AAPT, 1991):
"There are limited professional development activities, heavy teaching loads, and a lack of interaction with colleagues to engender collegiality. In addition, there is a traditional lack of scholarly tradition in two-year colleges, and a perception that one cannot embrace both pedagogy and research."
Reporting her findings from surveys conducted among two-year college physics faculty across the country, Judy Tavel, Dutchess Community College, also observed (Tavel, 1991):
"I have been told that isolation was the most critical issue for faculty at two-year colleges and considering this data I certainly can see why. As one respondent to the questionnaire put it, 'I am solely responsible for all of the physics taught and learned. There isn't even anyone within 100 miles that is remotely interested in discussing physics with me.' "
In an article published in 1991 (Tavel, 1991a), Tavel further discusses causes for the isolation referenced above. She implies that the lack of sabbaticals and professional development is another major contributor to isolation. Her article describes isolation as not only isolation from physics colleagues (0 to 1 full-time physics faculty member in 62 % of the physics departments responding to her surveys) but also isolation from colleagues on campus. Tavel credits too many classes, students and other departmental duties to allow faculty time to engage in collegial discussions or activities on campus with faculty from other disciplines.
Following the completion of a second survey of two-year college physics faculty, Tavel (Tavel, 1995) summarizes her findings with regard to the two surveys, the first having 1,013 respondents and the second having 313. She reported that although most of the faculty she surveyed had part-time faculty who taught physics, these faculty reported that "it really does not help having a part-timer (or worse, multiple part-timers) because part-time faculty rarely have a commitment to either the school in general or physics in particular." One of her survey questions addressed the faculty's feeling toward isolation. When asked "What Faculty Like Least", the respondents stated workload (100%), isolation (78%), poor image (52%) and poor pay (43%).
A Need for Networks
In parallel with the activities of AAPT at the beginning of this decade, NSF sponsored a series of workshops addressing the science, mathematics, engineering and (as a later addition) technology education at two-year colleges. The topic of isolation or related issues was discussed at each of these. During the first workshop in June 1989, (NSF, 1989) the attendees made the following observation concerning faculty development:
"The heavy teaching loads of the two-year college faculty members make it difficult for them to pursue the few, existing opportunities for professional growth. In addition, these faculty tend to be isolated from other colleagues in their disciplines and many have not kept up-to-date in their fields."
Consequently several recommendations were defined in support of professional development for two-year college faculty. In the second workshop in May 1991 (NSF, 1991) the participants made recommendations for curricular reform, program improvement, and active alliances/partnerships with industry and elementary/secondary education as addressing "a critical need to provide professional development and renewal opportunities for faculty."
Dr. James Stith in his plenary address (NSF, 1992) during the third NSF workshop stated, "A concern raised in several workshop groups has been the sense of isolation experienced by many faculty at two-year colleges." He went on to say, "A strong recommendation from several groups is that professional societies must establish networks to help eliminate that feeling of isolation."
The proceedings from the fourth NSF workshop (NSF, 1993) produced a better characterization of the isolation experienced by many in this community: "The distinctive culture in many two-year colleges, and in some four-year colleges as well, poses special challenges. In some institutions, there may be little encouragement for scholarship beyond that associated with classroom teaching. All these factors, limited time outside the classroom, limited opportunity for staying current in one's field, and limited support of ongoing scholarship, can serve to isolate many two-year college faculty from their disciplinary moorings, especially in rapidly changing fields. Indeed, many studies indicate that these faculty have a strong sense of discipline isolation."
The AIP Survey
Concurrently with the TYC21 networking project, the American Institute of Physics began background work to prepare the first national survey of two-year college physics in the United States in 1995. By 1996, they had prepared and mailed a survey to every two-year college in the country. Their findings were published in 1998 (AIP, 1998) as "Physics in the Two-Year Colleges".
The report itself does not directly address the matter of isolation but offers supporting evidence regarding isolation in the two-year college community. For example, the report describes two-year college physics education as: "the most neglected segment of the physics teaching enterprise, a view corroborated in previous research," and further notes:
"While physics may be arguably portrayed as one of the more carefully studied - and self studied - of the disciplines, investigations into physics education at the two year level have been few and far between."
The report further indicates "...a search of existing resources turned up no available listing of physics faculty that even came close to completeness." Potential reasons for this are described in part as follows: "Unfortunately, physics, a numerically small discipline, even at the four-year college and university level, tends to be so small a part of the two year scene that it gets lost in the shuffle, rarely meriting any special attention or mention." This appears to also be reflected in the comment, "Many university based physicists regard two year instruction as lying outside the 'mainstream' of physics education. Perhaps more than most disciplines, physics has been dominated by the agendas and views of those involved in graduate studies, especially at the doctoral level."
The survey provided data substantiating that the two-year college community is an important player in both college education and introductory physics education with "just under one million freshmen entering two-year colleges each year, along with one and one quarter million freshmen entering four-year schools. ... Additionally in the '96-'97 year 120,000 students took physics in the two-year colleges, approximately 25% of all students taking introductory physics at the college level this year."
Faculty isolation is specifically mentioned as: "One area of major concern for those involved with two year college physics programs is what is perceived as the relative isolation and lack of professional involvement among the faculty. As mentioned earlier, nearly half of all campuses have only one member teaching physics. Additionally, faculty may teach in more remote areas of the country, with few opportunities to engage in professional activities, particularly if their department does not provide much funding for such activities."
The AIP data also revealed an unusually high percentage of two-year college physics faculty have a long tenure at a single institution, even entire careers at one institution. This combination could potentially, though not necessarily enhance isolation.
"Full time permanent faculty had taught at the two-year college level for a median of 15 years, 13 of those at their current college... This high level of career stability was found among faculty at all career stages, across all levels of experience, but was most pronounced for those with more than 20 years of experience, who had taught a median of 26 years, 25 of them at the same institution. Our survey also found an unusually high percentage of full-time faculty have spent their entire physics careers teaching at the same college."
"The low prospects for turnover found among full time two-year college physics teachers, coupled with the prior lack of career mobility and the relatively high level of job satisfaction, suggests a stable and relatively healthy occupational outlook for the segment of this physics community." Though not mentioned in the report it would seem this relatively long, one location career might contribute to isolation also.
Another factor potentially affecting isolation of the faculty member appeared as a comparison of the status and working conditions of two-year college faculty with their counterparts in four-year colleges. "Among these findings are the pattern of two-year college physics faculty having larger course loads, spending a greater percentage of their time on teaching related activities, receiving lower compensation, and having access to fewer support services and available resources." (The findings from the Tavel surveys conducted the first part of this decade had intimated the same conditions.)
"Moreover, funding for public education in many states has been under attack in recent years from many quarters, and two-year institutions often find themselves with fewer powerful and vocal allies than competing sectors in the scramble for funds. This further widened the gap with four-year colleges and universities, with impacts on faculty course loads, use of and compensation for part time teachers, availability of money for materials and support personnel and the like."
The data cited as support of the contrast in professional responsibility of included: "Thus full time two-year college physics teachers spend 43 hours a week on average doing their jobs. Of this time, 88% was spent on activities that were directly related to teaching. By comparison, faculty across all disciplines at comprehensive and liberal arts colleges reported spending 61% of their time on teaching related activities, and faculty at research and doctoral institutions spent 41% of their time on such tasks."
Another observation pointed out that "physics programs, with relatively low enrollments, are sensitive to the constraints of small school size." These observations appear to reveal a problem of large faculty load, including a lack of support staff to assist with tasks that are ancillary to the classroom instruction, hence enhancing isolation by a lack of time to communicate and cooperate with others.
Some of the insights from the report seem to suggest the question, however, "how real is this isolation?" For example: "Overall, 44% of the [two-year college] faculty with physics degrees at any level were members of the national physics teachers organization."
If the faculty member joined this organization to receive the journals or to participate in meetings, this would seem to counter the isolation argument. However, a moment's reflection reveals the two-directional aspect of isolation or a lack of visibility. While the two-year college physics faculty was cognizant of the activities in physics education at the national level through the membership services, the other members of the professional organizations may not be cognizant of the activities of these "invisible" faculty. A review of the journals shows little contributions from members of the two-year college community as the AIP survey reports.
"For many two-year faculty, professional activities were mainly limited to attendance at professional meetings, rather than more active types of participation which involve providing information or adding to the knowledge base in the field, either in physics or physics education. This may be one of the costs of the relatively heavy teaching loads and other responsibilities that two-year college teachers are expected to fulfill. Nevertheless, 83% of full timers, and 61% of part timers have attended at least one meeting during the previous two years, and the median number of meetings attended by these faculty was three. In addition, just over half of full timers and a third of part timers had participated in workshops or mini-courses during this time period. However, less than a fifth of full time faculty reported getting something published or receiving a grant in the previous two years."
This may suggest that the faculty is not as isolated as one might think but more limited in their individual ability to contribute professionally to the national effort. Another insight can be gained from the observation of the report. "Of all initiatives listed on the questionnaire, Microcomputer Based Labs (MBL) and the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) were the most commonly cited, with about a third of the women faculty and just under a quarter of men reporting at least occasional use." The text goes on to point out the ratios for other current educational research related efforts as Conceptual Exercises/Overview Case Studies (CE/OCS) at 20% and 8% respectively; Active Learning Problem Sheets (ALPS) as 14% and 8%; and Calculator Based Laboratory (CBL) at 16% for both genders. This seems to indicate there is considerable activity in the two-year college physics community to implement recent innovations in the teaching of physics, which one would not expect of isolated individuals. The perspective of isolation is broadened to mean not only isolation from a group, but isolation "to a group", again suggesting the two-directional aspect of the condition of isolation.
With respect to isolation the report summarized:
"At the center of ranks was a strong core of committed, professionally active teachers, whose responses and comments reflected a deep involvement in their craft, a familiarity with the latest instructional innovation, and a familiarity with and empathy towards their students, like themselves, often regarded as outside the academic "mainstream". However, juxtaposed against the highly integrated group was an even larger segment of the community that appeared quite isolated (sometimes voluntarily so), with minimal interaction with other members of the two-year college teaching community and little familiarity with new teaching approaches and resources."
BREAKING THE BARRIERS
The question which TYC21 faced and which the two-year college community will continue to face is how to reach faculty and convince them to become involved. Norrell and Ingoldsby (Norrell, 1991) propose three strategies to overcoming academic isolation:
(1) develop relationships with those who are equally isolated;
(2) pool resources and provide support; and
(3) take advantage of the unique research opportunities the small college
However, with each of these strategies, the isolated person is the one seeking to become "un isolated". The approach TYC21 was taking is somewhat different. The project sought to involve faculty in conversations addressing student learning while at the same time not forming an organization apart and separate from other physics teachers and physicists. To accomplish this, the leaders had to help faculty realize their individual need to be a member of the TYC21 network and then with leadership, communication and scholarship while addressing common goals, break the barriers of isolation. To further help accomplish this involvement, TYC21 established 15 regions to emphasize and build regional participation (AAPT, 1995a).
...BY REALIZING A NEED
The creation of TYC21 involved only a handful of physics faculty from the two-year college and colleagues from professional organizations and the four-year college/university community who sought to develop a way for "all of us to exchange ideas and know about one another's work" (Wheeler, 1991). However, it was clear to the project directors in 1994, that the success of the networking project would rely on the physics faculty at the local level. If regional networks were going to be established and if they were going to become self-sustaining, the awareness of academic isolation and its impact on the classroom would have to begin at the local level as well.
Reports from the fifteen regional leaders (see Figure 1) supplied anecdotal evidence that the activities of TYC21 were awakening among physics faculty from two-year colleges to an awareness of isolation within their community and its impact on their classroom teaching. The proceedings from the regional meetings during the Fall 1995 (AAPT, 1995b) reported:
"[It] remains difficult to get TYC physics teachers away from their campuses for more than half day periods."
Another, "I felt the impact of the isolation issue was exhibited by the participants' discussion and interest in knowing what was going on in physics at TYC's."
A third, "Problems Encountered: We are isolated and do need networks."
The second set of regional meetings during the Spring 1996 (AAPT, 1996a) produced the following comments:
"The second [region] is larger and is very isolated. They are not involved in physics professional activities."
Another stated, "One participant who is the only physicist on his campus, stated that TYC21 provides a valuable service and his only opportunity for interaction with other TYC physics faculty."
A third remark was, "[The feedback from regional participants reporting that the meeting was valuable and should continue] is a good indicator of the high degree of isolation many people feel."
Figure 1. The Regions of the TYC21 Project
The reality of isolation and its impact on student learning so impressed the network members that three regions selected isolation (Regions 5, 10, and 15) as the topic for the three year regional study. The findings of these studies will be discussed later in this paper.
TYC21 data strongly suggests that the barriers of isolation cannot be broken until isolation becomes a personal need realized by the individual faculty member. Until the faculty perceives isolation as a barrier to improved teaching or learning in the classroom, he or she will not attempt to break the barriers. The proceedings of the regional meetings during the Spring 1997 (AAPT, 1997) reflect what one regional coordinator had learned. "Many of the TYC faculty who are isolated ... are doing so simply because of, quite simply, no interest in becoming un isolated. Sporadic conversations with non attendees seem to indicate that they are isolated and LIKE IT. As one attendee said, 'The TYC21 project assumes that the majority of isolated TYC physics teachers desire professional contact. That assumption could simply be wrong...' "
During a presentation at National Meeting Two, Mary Beth Monroe (Monroe, 1997) addressed this concern. "During the conception of TYC21, I had conversations with some colleagues concerning some members of our profession who apparently sought teaching at the two-year college because of this isolation or singularity it offered them. ... One region suggests that TYC21 assumed all faculty wanted to become
un isolated. That is not the case. What we the originators of TYC21 did assume was that the majority of two-year college teachers are committed to the quest for improving student learning and that this quest would convince the isolated to expand their activities beyond the classroom."
Mario Caprio (Caprio, 1997) described the isolation he had viewed among two-year college science faculty from his vantage position as editor of the "Two Year College" column in the Journal of College Science Teaching: "The reasons for isolation may be geographical, financial, social, or political - and more likely a combination of these....We work in isolation on problems that yield information that may well serve the common good, but we do not often share what we learn.... Rather, educational institutions probably only rarely consider what they have learned about their own campuses to be of any more than local interest. ...Chief among the losses isolation brings are the inevitable redundancies it spawns. For no matter how specialized local needs may be, it is difficult to imagine that there is no educational institution somewhere that has not already wrestled with - and solved - precisely the same problem or some analog of it. Building atop the work of others promises an easier climb and would surely bring the climbers to even greater heights. But scientists have known that for centuries."
One regional leader reported a similar sentiment in the Fall 1996 (AAPT, 1996): "The other problem for some in our region is the feeling of isolation. I got a sense from this meeting that there is strong need to compare notes with others...People seem to need a structured environment to get to know each other before they begin to exchange ideas. These meetings provide that structure." Another region reported during the Spring 1997, "Isolation was a significant factor [in this region] prior to the advent of TYC21 because there was no mechanism for individuals to meet as physics teaching colleagues."
Surprisingly to the project leaders, from the very beginning of the project the fifteen regional teams took it upon themselves to involve every two-year college physics faculty in the TYC21 network, at least at the local level. Apparently realizing the impact of isolation on their classrooms, the regional leaders sought to bring this realization to all physics faculty. Many of the questions addressed during group activities at the National Meetings of TYC21 (AAPT 1996c, 1997a, 1998) concerned "how do we get more faculty involved?". Some expressed frustrations at what they believed to be low attendance and even reported that the meetings were not successful because the attendance did not increase through the three year period as they thought it should.
The regional reports, once again, indicated that the decision to become un isolated is a matter of personal choice. A regional report from Spring 1996 stated, "We need to be allowed to raise questions and dialog on issues which affect each of us. This seems to be best done in small groups."
A second region reported how the local networks can reach faculty and help them decide to become involved. "All of these activities [newsletter, volunteer action to establish a WEB site, communication with high schools and universities, addressing faculty development and dissemination of knowledge by sponsoring workshops at meetings] also clearly relate to the national vision of reducing isolation by getting two-year college instructors together." A supervising steering committee member added in her semiannual report, "Visiting the same region at the same time helped the coordinator and me to engage in constructive discussion regarding the similarities and differences [between regions], guiding our insights into identifying the personality and characteristics of isolation within our region."
The project originators based the structure of the project on the assumption that if networking were to occur and thus erode some barriers of isolation, that regions would have to conduct face-to-face meetings, at least in the beginning. After a "comfort level" for communication was established, the local networks would strengthen and collaborative activities between meetings would evolve.
In the proceedings of the regional meetings for the Spring 1997, (the end of the second year) one regional coordinator commented, "Three reasons for not communicating between meetings are not enough time, needing to get comfortable wih each other, and needing something to talk about."
The regional reports seem to indicate the time needed for the participants to establish this comfort level was about two years. The gauge for this inference was the nature of the discussions during the local meetings.
During the first year and most of the second year, the regions reported that their activities focused on discussion of individual concerns and discussion addressing the individual performance in the classroom. It was primarily during the third year of the project that regional discussions and activities began to address issues more global in nature and to consider the impact of their local activities on other regions and the larger science education community.
The planning and hosting of meetings were new activities for many of the two-year college faculty. To help address this factor of isolation, the regional coordinators received some training in leadership skills and team building skills during the AAPT hosted retreat at the University of Notre Dame in August 1994 and the subsequent Post Falls Retreat in August 1995. The Steering Committee and TYC21 Project Manager also prepared the TYC21 Meeting Handbook to facilitate the planning of meetings and the preparations of internal evaluations. During the first two years of the project, the conversations between regional coordinators, regional team members, Steering Committee members and the TYC21 project manager provided much support and direction in "empowering" new two-year college faculty as leaders in cooperative activities.
If a network is to become self-sustaining and therefore provide a safeguard against a lapse into isolation, leadership necessarily must be cultivated continually particularly targeting the new faculty members. TYC21 asked each region to elect three members each of the three years of the project so as to foster leadership and therefore help insure the maintenance of the local structures. During the three-year term of the project, eighty-two different team members attended the national forums during the Summer. During the project, upon the resignation of some TYC21 leaders, seven of these team members assumed the position of regional coordinators and one team member progressed to regional coordinator and then Steering Committee member.
The local leadership team (appointed Regional Coordinator and three, locally-elected physics faculty) served to help combat the effects on isolation produced by the geographic separation of two-year colleges. Many of the regions had team members from the far corners of the region. For example, Region 4 (Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico) had team members from the Maricopa area in Arizona, Famington, New Mexico and Denver, Colorado. While most of the team members for the Texas-Louisiana region were clustered in East Texas, one team member was from El Paso Community College. Region 11, another large multi-state region consisting of Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi had leadership from Brunswick, Georgia; Birmingham, Alabama; Goodman, Mississippi; Alexander City, Alabama and Nashville, Tennessee during the term of the project. Even in the regions of greater two-year college density on the East Coast and in the northeastern corner selected leaders from perceived different geographic locations. Region 15 (eastern New York, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut) had team members from Boston, Massachusetts; Berlin, New Hampshire; Danielson, Connecticut; Lincoln, Rhode Island; and Poughkeepsie, New York.
As the leadership matured, the reasons for communications between two-year college faculty changed. First, the leaders planned and hosted 93 local meetings during the three year term of the project and during this last year, fourteen regions hosted meetings and have submitted plans to continue the structured activities into the future. National Meeting Three (AAPT, 1998) clearly belonged to the regional leaders as forty of the sixty participants shared responsibility for some part of the program. During the TYC21 April 1999 Meeting (AAPT, 1999a), the participants quickly rallied to the charge from the Steering Committee and with a unity of purpose, formulated and adopted a community vision spanning the next five years. This vision addressed the challenges facing the physics education community by defining five areas for action which two-year colleges can address as they implement educational revitalization in introductory physics within our country.
The maturation of leadership also produced an increased visibility of the two-year college community within the larger science education community. Many of the new leaders have served on NSF review panels (the actual panel and date are anonymous) and have been invited participants to NSF sponsored conferences addressing SME&T education policy. Many of these faculty have been appointed or elected to leadership positions within AAPT, including membership on the Two-Year College Committee and candidates as the Member-at-Large to the Executive Board. Tom O'Kuma, TYC21 Steering Committee member, is completing his presidency term with AAPT, Alex Dickison is seeking another term as AAPT Treasurer and Marv Nelson, project director, received the prestigious AAPT Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in August 1999. Other indicators of improved visibility for this two-year college community include: the Carnegie teaching award to Aaron Wenger, Region 5 Coordinator; the appointment of Ali Yazdi, Region 11 Coordinator to a state-wide education committee; and the award to Tim Dave, Region 2 Coordinator as Adjunct Faculty Member of the year in California.
Region 10 produced a white paper concerning the erosion of isolation within their region. Their conclusion was that enhancing communication would best solidify the local network. Barbara Bates, Regional Coordinator, wrote, "Out of about 120 people on the mailing list, about half had contact with members of the regional team. About 50 different individuals attended at least one of the regional meetings that we held throughout Kentucky and Ohio. Even though few traveled over 50 miles to a meeting, many people attended more than one meeting. Our region has a list serve and a web site. We are communicating more often using email. We found that two-year college physics instructors want to interact with people who do what they do. What we did was to create a structure that facilitated that interaction." (AAPT, 1998)
Face-to-face meetings are probably the best mode of communication among two-year college physics faculty. The meetings provide for informal chit-chat, time to identify with other faculty, and an exchange of information and ideas concerning pedagogy and professional development. TYC21 emphasized the "personal aspect" of networking with a focus on these meetings. The planning and hosting of meetings required that regional leaders address the common isolation barriers such as distance, time and money.
Surprisingly even though faculty often cited the lack of financial support as a reason for not convening meetings, regions did not deplete the money available to them. Regions used about 47% of the money available to them. No travel money was allocated for participants to local meetings within their regions. In many cases, the money was provided by the host institution and expenditures were primarily made for postage and duplication, with some money spent for food. (Regrettably the data collected from the regions does not document the amount of money spent to host the meeting nor does it identify the sources for local funding.) TYC21 financial funding primarily provided support for consultants and guest speakers to regional meetings. All regions have continued to plan and conduct local meetings during the last year with no support funding from the grant. Ali Yazdi, in his report during the 1999 April Meeting, explained that needed money in their region is normally provided by the host institutions. Therefore the region does not use the same site for a meeting but rotates the meetings around the area so as not to put a financially burden on any one institution.
Distance and time are coupled barriers which the regions had to address. The large teaching loads, compounded by single member departments, do not provide much free time to attend meetings, particularly if a large amount of the time is spent in travel. Therefore regional meetings employed several tactics to reduce the impact of distance and time on the physics faculty.
The regions submitted reports for 93 meetings during the three-year term.
The TYC21 database reports that the attendees traveled, on the average (one way) approximately 110 miles from their home institution to the meeting site, with an average travel time of 2.2 hours. Six regions held multiple meetings with sites at different locations within the region to accommodate the problems associated with distance. In addition, the reports reflect that most meetings were about half a day in length accommodating a round trip between home and the meeting site in one day.
It is interesting to note that the number of miles does not substantiate the argument used by some TYC faculty that "the meeting is too far away to attend." Half of the reporting regions reported that participants traveled on the average less than 100 miles between the home institution and the meeting site and the other half report that participants traveled between 100 and 200 miles on the average. Reports from two Steering Committee member sheds some insight with regard to the perception of distance as a factor contributing to professional isolation.
John Enger in his Final Report (AAPT, 1999) described what may be true for all regions and for the issue of isolation of two-year college physics faculty:
"This is a large geographical area [Region 4]. In flying from Cody, Wyoming to Phoenix, Arizona, the only visible sign of human habitation seen is Salt Lake City, where plane changes are typically made. From the airplane can be seen a thousand miles of mountains and trees, and desert with such famous, but largely unpopulated places such as the Grand Canyon, Canyon Lands National Park, Zion National Park and Bryce National Park. Yet the isolation issue is not geographical, as one might guess. It appears to be more a choice of individuals. There are physics staff members in Phoenix more isolated than others in the lowest populated state in the Union, Wyoming. Information flow appears to be largely a matter of who is interested and willing to communicate, and has established a network with other interested individuals."
Tom O'Kuma made a similar observation: "Region 1 was a really strange situation. This is one of the most compact geographic regions in the TYC21 project, but in many ways it was one of the most isolated regions. Most of the faculty members did not know each other and did not find opportunities to meet each other. Many of the faculty I talked to thought they were isolated by the 'sprawl' of the Los Angeles metropolitan area." (AAPT, 1999)
Regions also addressed the barrier of distance by predominantly hosting meetings around central hubs. Region 1 had two hubs: Los Angeles and the Hawaiian Islands. (There was some thought among the Steering Committee members about the designation of Hawaii as a sixteenth region. At the request of the Islands' leader, Hawaii was considered a subregion of Region 1, but for obvious reasons equal funding was allocated from grant money for Hawaii as if it were a separate region.) Region 2 had a hub around San Francisco. Region 3 had two sub regions with one hub located at Seattle-Tacoma. Region 8 primarily met in the Chicago area. Region 9 conducted meetings central to the state of Michigan. Region 11 held all meetings in central Alabama, a central point for the region. Region 13 had one hub in the Baltimore area and a second in North Carolina. Region 14 had one hub in New Jersey and a second in western New York.
The regional meetings did seem to have favored times which would coincide with times less competitive with teaching schedules. Most regions held meetings from mid-October to mid-November and mid-March to mid-April. Hawaii was only able to hold annual meetings and these were in June. Region 15 seemed to favor early May for the Spring activities. Attendance records do not suggest that participants had a preference for the Fall or the Spring as meeting times for the local networks.
Region 5, the second largest region, geographically, pioneered a new meeting format to address the issue of distance. The two-year colleges in Minnesota already had the hardware in place and therefore conducted both face-to-face meetings and meetings via interactive television (ITV). The Regional Coordinator reported that three informal ITV meetings were held per year. During the three-year funding term for the regions, three face-to-face meetings were held (Grand Rapids, Willmar, and Mankato). The maximum distance traveled for the ITV meetings was about 30 miles. Although all meetings have been very successful in this locale, the Coordinator credited the first face-to-face meeting as the real catalyst toward uniting the two-year college physics faculty in a collaborative effort addressing lab/lecture parity. (The discussion on the lab/lecture parity topic was based on the white paper developed by Region 6 on this topic.)
The TYC21 project managers from August, 1995 through August, 1998, spent much of their time in communication (telephone and email) with the regional leaders listening to these faculty and encouraging them in their activities. The presence of a contact person as resource in the AAPT national office and the assistance of the Steering Committee during the early stages of TYC21, were, in hindsight, a valuable tool combating isolation and producing a good comfort level. Ann Brennan, TYC21 Project Manager, 1995-1997, reported that during the first year regional leaders were concerned about the planning and execution of the regional meetings as well as getting the word out about TYC21. After the first year, (during which 100% of the regions had meetings) the concern turned to "how do we involve the two-year college faculty"?
One region reports in the proceedings of the regional meetings for the Fall 1996 (AAPT, 1996b), "One of the critical issues of the national vision is reducing the isolation of TYC21 faculty. Extending our lines of communication does this!" Another region reported for the Spring 1997 meeting (AAPT, 1997), "So for those who are frustrated because we see the same people over and over again, we need to remember that before this project these folks were as isolated as the ones we are still trying to reach."
Patti Hughey, Coordinator for Region 9, in her report for the Spring 1997 meeting made the following comment:
"We are still working on communication which will help reduce isolation. I am beginning to understand that it is not just the lack of mechanisms (meetings, newsletters, email, etc.) but also the time involved in meaningful communication that is part of the problem. In fact, I would suggest that this is the greatest part of the problem with isolation. Our teaching schedules keep us too busy to communicate on teaching and learning issues as well as keep abreast of current physics research. We each need to learn ways to incorporate more time for professional development and collegial support ."
At the regional level, the primary mode for communication in the early stages of the funding was the telephone and mailings. The reasons for the initial communications concerned identifying the two-year college physics faculty in the area and disseminating information about the project and the local meetings. Mail contact was made with 2000 of the 2230 two-year college physics faculty that the regional coordinators could identify. Some regions made concerted effort to contact each identified teacher by phone. Region 6, for example, implemented a phone tree the first year, but abandoned the process during the second year. According to the phone tree process, phone chains were initiated with the attendees to the first regional meeting calling three other faculty members and in turn, asking them to call three other faculty members. However, this process was a hassle as faculty schedules did not coincide, making it hard for actual phone conversations to occur.
Later in the funding term, many of the faculty acquired electronic communications through their college, improving the opportunities for communication. The availability of this mode was so wide spread, that only five regional coordinators and steering committee members used funding from the TYC21 grant to acquire a modem or email charges. The project evaluator reports the establishment of seven web pages and 2 list serves, created and managed by TYC21 members.
TYC21 used email to enhance cross regional communication as well as communication with the broader science education community. Every two weeks, the TYC21 Project Manager emailed the project leaders a short and informal notice, the biweekly. This biweekly advised the TYC21 community of project deadlines, announcements of professional development activities of interest to the community, action or quotes from the country's political leaders impacting the two-year college community, and the announcement of future regional meetings and national TYC21 meetings. In each biweekly the manager requested a simple one word acknowledgement that the email had been received. The leaders responded very well. Although the email response was a minor action, the response did help the project to gauge that information was being received and did maintain at least a connection with each region.
During the TYC21 April Meeting in 1999, Tim Dave, Coordinator for Region 2, commented that electronic communication has "institutionalized the region". He reported that the regional listserv had been used during the academic year , 1998-99 (the first year without financial support to regions for networking activities) to plan their regional meeting, recruit participants and general information exchange. He further commented on the region's use of other electronic communication such as the bulletin board and the internet for information exchange regarding general pedagogy. Region 2 also announced plans to make use of local telephone conferencing center available free to local two-year colleges. Marv Nelson in his Final Report (AAPT, 1999) said of this region: "Region 2 represented the ultimate example of isolated faculty at the beginning of the TYC21 Project. ...[however] they have evolved to the point where they have an active web/bulletin board that has broad participation."
On the other hand a neighboring region does not believe that the email communication is as viable a mode for communication for their region as the newsletter.
Region 1 under the leadership of Myron Mann has been publishing a regional newsletter twice a year with mailings to approximately 250 readers including two-year college colleagues, college administration and the AAPT staff. Mann described, also in the April Meeting, the newsletter as a strong communication vehicle for the region because it is "better than a letter" and reaches a larger audience than the email which only goes out to thirty names.
The TYC21 leadership hoped that the realization of the impact of isolation on teaching and student learning would manifest itself by a deliberate outreach from region to region. The leadership further hoped that this outreach would extend from each local network to teachers and students in the high school community and the four-year college community, and to colleagues in the workplace.
In an effort to promote cross-regional communications and activities, the TYC21 grant identified monies available to subsidize travel funds for Steering Committee members and Regional Coordinators to regional activities outside their home state each year of the project. During the three-year term, the Steering Committee members visited eighteen regional meetings outside their home state. The response from the Regional Coordinators was modestly successful. At least two-thirds of the leaders visited at least one other regional activity. While the time away from classes may be a reason for the lack of response, there is no conclusive documentation explaining why more visits were not made. Therefore the primary venue for cross-regional communications were the three national meetings. During each national meeting, multiple times were defined on the program providing the regional teams opportunities to visit and share ideas.
Most regions reported some type of outreach during the term of the project. Twelve regions reported interactions with members of the four-year college community, with five regions reporting involvement from this community at more than half of their regional meetings. Eight regions reported outreach with the high school community, with seven of these involving high school teachers in their regional meetings.
The TYC21 database also reports that Regions 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, and 13 held some of their meetings at sites other than two-year colleges. In addition, Regions 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 reported some local meetings held in conjunction with AAPT sections. Region 13 reported joint meetings with the North Carolina Two-Year College Alliance, Region 6 held one meeting in tandem with the Texas Community College Teachers Association and Region 3 hosted some overlapping activities with the Pacific Northwest Association for College Physics. This information suggests deliberate action by the two-year teachers to address not only academic isolation within their own community but also isolation between the community and other members of the broader physics and science community.
Focus on the connection with industry was low with only four regions reporting attendance by representatives from industry. A special session in National Meeting Two featured executive officers from industry describing possible collaborations between the two communities. Four regions, after this meeting, did add issues addressing industry to their program agendas.
National Meeting Three was viewed by all TYC21 participants as a celebration for the accomplishments of the TYC21 project. Marie Plumb, Program Chair for this meeting, described the scholarship occurring locally and nationally among two-year college physics faculty (AAPT, 1998):
"We have started collaborative activities, begun outreach programs, written grants, been awarded grants, given poster sessions, given papers, and sponsored meetings. ...
"Each of us is different because of TYC21. Our classrooms are different because of TYC21. Our students are experiencing physics differently because of TYC21. Some of the differences are easy to identify--we try a new lab or a new course. Some of the differences are more subtle--we listen more carefully to what our students are saying."
The project newsletter, Connections, edited by the project manager, provided an opportunity to exhibit scholarship. The newsletter, published and circulated to all TYC21 participants and members of AAPT identified as two-year college physics faculty, disseminated information addressing national issues impacting the two-year college community. The CONNECTIONS also published articles written by two-year college physics faculty addressing networking activities, physics pedagogy and outreach programs to the community, K-12 students, four-year colleges and the workplace.
The local studies of critical issues provided the regions with one reason for collaborations. However the preparation of the white papers in themselves produced little region-wide collaboration. Most Regional Coordinators reported that the actual researching and writing of the topic engaged only one or two of the regional leaders. In some regions, the focus on the critical issue was very successful in addressing isolation, not only within the region but across regional boundaries. Region's 3 critical issue study on student competencies continues to engage all local participants as well as participants in Region 9. The study of lecture/lab parity conducted by Region 6 has been successful in attracting questions and thus initiating conversations among faculty at the two-year college and four-year college. Overall, the study of critical issues has produced limited success in helping physics faculty at two-year colleges come to a realization that their needs and concerns with physics education are not unique to their home institution or region.
Two examples which illustrate very well how scholarship can help to break the barriers of isolation are found in the critical issue studies conducted by Region 5 and Region 15.
Aaron Wenger, Regional Coordinator for Region 5 (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota) coupled his regional study with another NSF funded project in his region, the Minnesota Lab Centered Instruction (LCI) Project. In the regional white paper (AAPT, 1999), Wenger describes the isolation his region sought to address. "By isolation of physics, we did not so much mean the isolation of instructor from instructor as so many other regions have identified, but rather we meant the isolation of physics instruction from the world of probable careers and from the world of applications."
The LCI project, which started in 1997, addressed the critical issue of isolation by (Wenger, 1999):
(1) creating partnerships at the red end of the two-year college spectrum and thereby decreasing the isolation among instructors; and
(2) bringing the physics lab into "student world" phenomena and thereby decreasing discipline isolation."
In addition to partnering with local high schools clustered around three disperse sites (all two-year college campuses) around the state of Minnesota, the project encouraged partnerships directly with technology determined businesses.
George Bedard, CoPI for the LCI project stated (Bedard, 1999): "During the project there have been many successes. Notably, all instructors changed their teaching to incorporate more inquiry-based activities, and communicated with fellow professional science/math instructors. There have been few failures, such as two interns dropping out because they did not want to take the time to make changes in their instruction. It is evident that this is a model what will help build bridges to overcome isolation."
Tony Zito, Region 15 Coordinator (Eastern New York, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut) reported in his region's white paper, "Physics ANswers in Cyberspace (PANIC) that (Zito, 1999): "Physics departments at community colleges are usually very small if they exist at all. One of the problems for physics professors at these small institutions, of course, is isolation from other physicists ... But just as physics professors at such schools are isolated, the physics/technical students are also isolated from the dynamic physics community." This local study identified several factors contributing to isolation in their part of the country: "distance, density, communication, faculty size, administration support, communication and motivation."
The regional team used this white paper study to generate a new service for students to combat the isolation which physics and engineering student have from their peers. The PANIC service is a collaborative effort among community college physics professors to provide students at small to medium-sized community colleges access to physics professors and other students throughout the region. The local network is in place and the proposal has been submitted to NSF for funding.
...BY ADDRESSING A COMMON GOAL
In 1995, TYC21 asked physics faculty to host meetings as an opportunity for gathering colleagues together while targeting specific goals and defined outcomes. In addition the regions developed internal evaluations measuring how well the outcomes were accomplished. Both exercises were new to most faculty. The TYC21 database reflects that 67% of the regions submitted goals, outcomes and agendas and distributed these to the regions prior to the local meetings. However, it is not clear from the database if the regional teams developed the goals prior to the development of the agendas.
The impact of addressing common goals on isolation were expressed by regional leaders during the April 1999 Meeting. Todd Leif, Region 7, and Bill Hogan, Region 8, commented that their most successful meetings occurred when the activities were developed with a specific goal or theme in mind. Tim Dave, Region 2, and Myron Mann, Region 1, implicitly commented that communications between meetings are successful when there is a reason for members to communicate. The panelists also shared an awareness that the success of a meeting should not be measured solely by the size of the meeting nor the number of faculty attending the meeting. As Hogan said, regions must be allowed time to make mistakes and learn."
During National Meeting One (AAPT, 1996c), sixty leaders from the two-year college physics community aided by presentations of Dr. James Palmer, Dr. Melvin George, and Dr. Karen Johnston realized their common goal. This goal, they believed, would persuade an isolated teacher to become "un isolated" and the overworked two-year college teacher to seek collaborations. That goal was and is "providing quality physics education to all students". With a common focus on this goal, the 530 members of the fifteen TYC21 regions have structured local activities which are successfully breaking the barriers of isolation.
As the April 1999 Meeting was the concluding activity for the TYC21 project, the thirty-five leaders from two-year colleges drafted a vision statement which reflects a shared commitment to continue the activities initiated by the TYC21 project into the next century. The vision reflects the understanding by the two-year college faculty of the negative impact of isolation on the teaching and learning within our classrooms realized during the term of the program.
"As two-year college members of the physics community, we need to
actively communicate and promote our belief that physics is an important part of
all students' education. Further, we believe that physics teachers who regularly
communicate with each other can share ideas and provide a better set of learning
opportunities for their students. Our network of physicists will sustain local and
national conversations and activities about methods and styles of learning and
teaching. These conversations and activities will support scholarship that is
widely available, easily accessible, and invites commitment and collaboration."
During the term of the TYC21 project the two-year college has received a lot of recognition with regard to the leadership role which this community can assume in the reform of undergraduate education. The close ties to the community and local industry and business, the low inertia for initiating institutional change, and the sole focus on teaching contribute to the vantage position of these schools in the implementation of new programs and curricular change. Although the AIP survey reports that there are only approximately 2700 faculty teaching physics on 1056 campuses, about 25 % of all students taking introductory physics at the college level are enrolled at two-year colleges. In addition, the Shaping the Future report (NSF, 1996) reported that two-year colleges enroll the largest percentage of college undergraduates, offer the largest percentage of undergraduate SME&T courses and teach the largest enrollment of SME&T undergraduates of all college institutions!
Type of Institution
% of Enrolled Undergraduates
% of Undergraduate SME&T Courses
% of Undergraduate SME&T Enrollments
Master’s Universities & Engineering Schools
Bachelor’s & Small Master’s Institutions
It is therefore imperative that the two-year college community continue and enhance their collaborations and scholarship. Through these efforts they can address the isolating barriers produced by geographical distance, time, lack of financial support, large workloads, single member departments, lack of collegiate support for scholarship and the "agendas and views of those involved in graduate studies, especially at the doctoral level." (AIP, 1998) The last barrier may be the hardest to erode. Robert Clark referred to this barrier as the "pecking order" in a presentation to Region 11 in the Fall 1996. Although the TYC21 project has received much recognition, there is little evidence at the present time measuring the impact of TYC21 on the teaching faculty outside the two-year college community.
The process of breaking the barriers of isolation is a continuing process as recognized by the external evaluator in her 1996 annual report (Norton, 1996); and as Region 10 reported in its white paper (Bates, 1997), "Eroding the Barriers of Isolation", the process is a slow one. Probably the most important discovery surfacing during this evolutionary project was that "isolation is ultimately a matter of personal choice" (Monroe, 1997). If faculty believe their networking will improve the learning of their students, they will work to find ways to become "un isolated". Therefore the members of the community must continually foster communication, leadership and scholarship while addressing common goals to maintain the active involvement of current physics faculty and to expand the existing networks by engaging and involving new two-year college faculty and faculty from other educational levels and SME&T disciplines.
The responsibility for breaking the barriers of isolation is a shared responsibility among the individual teacher, the individual institution and professional organizations at both the regional and national level. While the initiative to become "un isolated" must originate with the teacher, the other members of the educational and science communities can provide support and encouragement while fostering a "team effort" to improve the teaching and learning of all students.
- TO THE INDIVIDUAL FACULTY MEMBER
* Attend and participate (present papers, conduct workshops, serve on
committees) in local, regional and/or national meetings annually.
* Be enthusiastic and positive in your scholarly activities and/or professional
development activities and share your knowledge and experience with
* Regularly engage in assessment and evaluation of physics pedagogy
implemented in the classroom and maintain documentation of your
* Collect information concerning the entry level skills and career goals of your
students and maintain follow-up records for students completing your
- TO COLLEGE ADMINISTRATIONS:
* Provide email and world wide web access for all faculty from their offices and
* Institutionalize and implement professional development activities with
reasonable financial support for all college faculty.
* Improve the reward system for faculty engaging in scholarship.
* Provide financial support to faculty (part-time and full-time)for both local and
* Institutionalize campus activities engaging all faculty (part-time and full-time)
teaching SME&T courses.
-TO TYC21 REGIONS:
* Identify reasons for communication between meetings and gatherings of two-
year college physics faculty.
* Implement, on a periodic basis, communications engaging two-year college
physics faculty at the local level.
* Cultivate activities and/or communications engaging faculty and students at
other educational levels.
* Define times during professional meetings, formal or informal, during which
two-year college physics faculty can meet as a small community, engaging
in dialog of particular interest to the two-year college faculty.
* Maintain communications, whether formal or informal, with faculty in other
TYC21 regions. Add the names of other regional leaders to existing local
electronic list serves and/or mailing lists for newsletters and other
* Provide the Assistant Executive Officer of AAPT with dates of TYC21 and
related meetings at the regional level for posting on the AAPT Web page
- TO THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF PHYSICS TEACHERS (Executive Board and Executive Office) :
* Establish direct ties between the two-year college Member-at-Large and
* Solicit from CPTYC recommendations for membership on the Nominating
Committee from among the two-year college faculty.
* Encourage, in addition to open CPTYC meetings, closed CPTYC committee
meetings during regular AAPT meetings.
* Foster communications between CPTYC and the National Science Foundation
(similar to the annual visit by the AAPT Presidents to NSF).
* Promote participation by two-year college faculty in the Science Forums
convened in Washington by the National Academy of Science, NSF and
other appropriate professional organizations.
* Cultivate collaborations of the AAPT/TYC community with other physics and
* Provide limited financial support for hardship cases from among two-year
college faculty to attend AAPT Topical Conferences including the
Departmental Chairs Conferences.
* Improve the information exchange among all AAPT members regarding the
scholarship at two year colleges (such as editorial comments in the
ANNOUNCER describing the activities of the Integral Role Conference
convened in March, 1997 and the ATE PI Conference convened each
* Archive important data emerging from TYC21.
* Maintain data regarding the institutional level of its membership.
* Maintain the AAPT Web page and dates for TYC21 and related meetings and
activities at the regional level.
-TO THE AAPT COMMITTEE FOR PHYSICS IN THE TWO-YEAR COLLEGE
* Review the Regional White Papers and report findings and action plans to the
general two-year college community.
* Appoint and support a two-year college teacher to enlist and maintain dialogue
among the members of this community via the TYC21 national list serve.
* Assume responsibility for the maintenance of the project newsletter
CONNECTIONS, circulated nationally.
* Continually identify the issues of both local and global impact to the two-year
* Maintain active dialog with the two-year college Member-at-Large to the
AAPT Executive Board.
* Review the recommendations from the TYC21 Steering Committee (found in
white papers on networking, regional study of critical issues and isolation)
and subsequently prepare formal recommendations to be presented to the
AAPT Executive Board according to the outline suggested in the Action
* Actively seek and involve new faculty in leadership roles within AAPT and the
two-year college community.
This white paper, along with the other two white papers (Networking and the Study of Critical Issues) produced by the TYC21 Steering Committee, will be distributed to the members of CPTYC during the AAPT Winter 2000 Meeting. With the white papers, will by a strong request that the members of CPTYC study the white papers and their recommendations, along with the Executive Summary of the project's Final Evaluation Report completed by the TYC21 External Evaluator. During a closed meeting of the members of both CPTYC and the Steering Committee (some special guests may attend) during the Summer 2000 AAPT meeting, the leadership will develop a set of proposed actions addressing these recommendations and define best avenues for implementing these recommendations. The results of this meeting will then be reported to the general two-year college faculty membership during the open CPTYC scheduled meeting and discussed. Formal action regarding these recommendations and implementation strategies should be taken during this open meeting and subsequently reported in writing to the AAPT Executive Board.
Following approval from the Board, the accepted actions shall be publicized in the ANNOUNCER and other appropriate ways. The CPTYC Committee shall also define alternate dissemination mechanisms and the target audiences for these actions.
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Caprio, M. W., "Hello! Is Anybody Out There?" Journal of College Science Teaching,
February, 1997, pgs. 243-246.
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Leadership Conference, Proceedings, AAPT, 1994.
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Junior Colleges, 1988. 58 pp. (ED 293 578)
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Kimmel, Howard, Kerr, Elaine and O'Shea, Mark "Computer Conferencing as a Resource
for In-Service Teacher Education", Science Education, 72 (4), 1988, pgs.467-473.
Massey, William F., Wilger, Andrea K. and Colbeck, Carol, "Overcoming ‘Hollowed’
Collegiality", Change, Jul-Aug 1994.
Monroe, Mary Beth, "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants", Focusing on Action, TYC21
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