Huntsville, Ala. ---- Alabama A&M University has been awarded a five-year, $8 million grant from the National Science Foundation to boost physics education in the state’s high schools.
NSF will fund through 2017 a proposal by AAMU physicists to transform secondary physics education with the “Alliance for Physics Excellence” (APEX). APEX aims to integrate the latest teaching practices into the secondary physics programs, ultimately impacting a quarter of the physics teachers in the state’s school systems and more than 40,000 students.
Nearly $3 million already has been released as a first installment.
Dr. Mostafa Dokhanian, professor of physics, is the project lead. And, while the professor will coordinate efforts to transform the work of pre-service and in-service physics teachers as they gain a deeper content knowledge of physics, his project will
also infuse effective teaching strategies based on physics education research. The teachers will then go on to apply that knowledge within their own classrooms, sparking a catalyst for teacher experimentation and sharing of their findings with other physics educators.
Moreover, the massive project is expected to increase the number of qualified secondary physics teachers; improve teachers’ subject knowledge and instruction techniques; boost undergraduate physics teacher education programs at AAMU and the University of Alabama; enable the sharing of best teaching practices; and distribute lab equipment to schools through the Alabama Science in Motion program.
AAMU President Andrew Hugine, Jr., has commended Dokhanian, department chair Mohan Aggarwal and the College of Engineering, Technology and Physical Sciences, for daring to take on such a major undertaking, but noted that the project is designed “to transform physics education throughout the great State of Alabama.”
APEX partners include the University of Alabama, J. F. Drake State Technical College, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the Huntsville City School System. Other supporting partners are comprised of 11 Alabama Math Science and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) regional in-service centers, Madison County schools, Scottsboro City Schools, Madison City schools, and the Alabama State Department of Education.
For additional information about the landmark APEX project, contact Dr. Mostafa Dokhanian at (256) 372-8131 or Dr. Mohan Aggarwal at (256) 372-8132.
- Jerome Saintjones