MnSCU Physics Final Report
Submitted by: Ron Ulseth May 28, 2004 BACKGROUND: April 2003 - Approximately 20 physics faculty from across MnSCU met to begin brainstorming issues related to transfer of physics courses. What became readily apparent is that we didn’t know each other. We had never before met as a group! In the time since merger occurred there had not been any discipline meetings for physics faculty. Our colleagues in math and chemistry have met on a much more regular basis. It was quickly determined that for the benefit of students, faculty, and our system, MnSCU physics faculty should become acquainted with one another. We should meet on a regular basis to share ideas, build relationships, and learn pedagogies from one another. Following is the list of outcomes from our April 2003 meeting. 1. Transfer issue/problem one: Content (syllabi) standardization of Physics courses 2. Transfer issue/problem two: Collaboration 3. Transfer issue/problem three: Advising for transfer February 2004 - A small sub-group of faculty gathered at St. Cloud State University to continue the work started at the first meeting. This group consisted of: John Truedson – Bemidji State University, Julie Johnson – Normandale Community College, Mike Garrity – St. Cloud State University, Ron Ulseth – Itasca Community College (lead facilitator), and Rick Dalrymple – Minnesota West Community and Technical College (in absentia due to weather). Following are the outcomes from the small group meeting: 1. Transfer issue/problem one: The small group developed the following recommendation for discussion and action at a large group meeting: “Physics Departments across MnSCU should consider a common naming system for the 2 semester sequences of algebra and calculus based physics.” 2. Transfer issue/problem two: Collaboration Group members echoed the sentiment from the April 11, 2003 meeting that regular meetings of MnSCU physics faculty will benefit faculty by enabling better communication which will lead to further collaboration, shared ideas, and ease of transfer. There are funds available for FY 2004 to hold large group meeting of physics faculty. The small group has decided to hold such a meeting on April 23, 2004 on the campus of St. Cloud State University. The list of topics for the meeting include: course naming, on-line physics development, advising students, continual communication, annual physics meetings, building bridges, and a discussion of math requirements for physics. Additional considerations include providing time for interaction between attendees. Ron Ulseth will prepare an agenda for the meeting and write a letter to from the small group members inviting physics faculty participation. To further promote annual meetings of physics faculty and to promote high quality teaching and learning, the small group recommends a proposal to the Center for Teaching and Learning for a Fall 2004 Physics discipline workshop. – Ron Ulseth will write proposal.
3. Transfer issue/problem three: Advising for transfer The small group recommends a presentation on advising for transfer to be made by transfer specialists at the April 23, 2004 meeting. The presentation will include the use of technology tools such as MNTransfer.org, DARS, and CAS.
April 2004 – 17 physics faculty met at St. Cloud State University to address the proposal from the small group. Attending were faculty: Bill Benson (Ridgewater), Bob Zbikowski (Hibbing), Brian Kohn (Central Lakes), David Bahr (Bemidji), John Truedson (Bemidji), Julie Johnson (Normandale), Ken Murphy (Southwest MN State), Leif Erickson (Century), Mark A. Nook (St. Cloud), Mike Garrity (St. Cloud), Richard Dalrymple (Minnesota West), Richard Shields (Winona), Ron Ulseth (Itasca), Steven F. Johnson (Bemidji), Rod Milbrandt (Rochester), Bob Carlson (Minneapolis) Also attending were Linda Lade and Gina Boekermann from the Office of the Chancellor and Ben Sharpe from the University of Minnesota. 1. Transfer issue/problem one: The faculty went through an extensive process to reach consensus for naming physics courses and produced the attached document “MnSCU Physics Name Change” that will be distributed to all MnSCU physics departments. 2. Transfer issue/problem two: Collaboration – Faculty participated in a collaborative workshop on on-line learning by Bob Carlson of Minneapolis CTC. Additionally, faculty provided input for a CTL discipline workshop which will be held in Fall 2004. See attached file “Physics Discipline Workshop Proposal…” 3. Transfer issue/problem three: Advising for Transfer - Gina Boeckermann from the Office of the Chancellor presented on MNTRANSFER.ORG and DARS and CAS. Ben Sharpe from the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology presented information about physics transfer to the University.
May 2004 – The MnSCU Center for Teaching and Learning notified the lead facilitator of the award for holding a Physics Discipline Workshop. The workshop will be held on October 29, 2004 at Winona State University in conjunction with the Fall MAAPT conference. EVALUATION: There were three issues identified during the April 11, 2003 meeting at North Hennepin. They were course compatibility, instructor collaboration, and advising for transfer. During Spring semester 2004, an intensive and successful approach was taken to addressing the issues, first through a small-group planning meeting, then through electronic communication and finally at large-group workshop. There are two significant outcomes. First is a document strongly encouraging all MnSCU physics departments to adopt a common naming system to ease transfer and minimize confusion for transferring students. The second is the development of a network of MnSCU physics faculty that is positioned to self-perpetuate. Thirdly, all participating faculty have been well exposed to the electronic tools available for transfer advising. This program has been a success. It has identified needs, developed plans to address the needs, and delivered outcomes necessary for future success. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:
In conclusion, the citizens of Minnesota have been well served by this initiative. Their resources have been effectively utilized to improve the educational product available. Physics faculty are more well connected and are learning from one another about tools available for improved instruction. Steps are being taken to further ease transfer. There is one recommendation for the future. The common naming recommendations should be widely communicated to not only faculty but also administrators. A follow-up system should be put in place to track the implementation of the change. Attachments: Physics Discipline Agenda February 2004 MnSCU Physics Name Change Discipline Workplan Final May 2004 Physics Discipline Workplan February 2004 Physics Discipline Workshop Proposal to CTL Physics Discipline Arpil 2004 Meeting Agenda