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TCNJ remains among leaders in producing physics teachers

TCNJ’s School of Science and School of Education continue to battle the national shortage of physics teachers by producing qualified educators at a pace that ranks among the best in the nation.

The college has again been recognized by the Physics Teacher Education Coalition with the 5+ Award after graduating six well-prepared physics teachers in the 2020–2021 academic year.

The 5+ Award is given to the 0.1% of all US institutions that graduate five or more future high school physics teachers in a single year. TCNJ has earned the distinction in three of the last five years, putting the college among national leaders despite its mid-sized student enrollment.

“We are so proud to be recognized with this prestigious award,” said Amanda Norvell, interim Dean of TCNJ’s School of Science. “TCNJ students receive an excellent education that is characterized by small classes, taught by engaged teacher-scholar faculty, with abundant opportunities for students to actively engage in research. The program has a proven track record of success and TCNJ graduates go on to become accomplished STEM educators themselves.”

According to a 2020 American Association for Employment in Education survey, the need for physics teachers is greater than nearly any other subject area and New Jersey is among the states feeling the pinch.

“In recent months, New Jersey has seen a steep decline in the number of available teachers and the shortage among hard-to-staff areas such as physics is particularly dire,” said Suzanne McCotter, Dean of the School of Education. “TCNJ’s success in recruiting and preparing excellent teachers of physics will support this need in schools throughout the state.”

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.

Learn more about the 5+ Club and PhysTEC.


— Luke Sacks