Plenary Speaker Profile (2011)
Stamatis Vokos
Professor of Physics
Seattle Pacific University
Findings and Recommendations of the National Task Force in Teacher Education in Physics

The National Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics (T-TEP) concluded its two-year investigation of the professional preparation of teachers of physics in the U.S. T-TEP, formed by APS, AAPT, and AIP, was charged with (a) identifying generalizable, yet flexible, strategies that institutions, and in particular physics departments and schools or colleges of education, can employ to increase the number of qualified physics teachers, (b) identifying effective strategies in recruitment, models of professional preparation, and higher education systems of support during the first three years of teaching, and (c) articulating research, policy, and funding implications. In this talk, the major findings and recommendations of the T-TEP report will be discussed and ways to leverage the report to transform the physics teacher education system will be outlined.

Stamatis Vokos has directed several projects on the learning and teaching of physics and has contributed to local and national science reform efforts in grades K-20. In particular, he has provided leadership to teacher education and enhancement programs in Washington State, in which nearly two thousand preservice and inservice educators have participated. Vokos received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from UC Berkeley in 1990 and was a postdoc at Argonne National Laboratory for two years. During his next postdoc (at the University of Washington), he discovered the existence of and became enamored with the field of physics education research. From 1995 until he joined SPU in 2002, he contributed extensively to the research and curriculum development efforts of the Physics Education Group. In particular, Vokos played a leadership role in the research of student understanding of advanced topics, such as relativity and quantum mechanics. At SPU, Vokos and his colleagues in physics and science education are involved in research and development projects on undergraduate course reform, as well as teacher education and enhancement. Funding from the National Science Foundation, the Boeing Co., the SPU Science Initiative, and the PhysTEC project of the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Institute of Physics has enabled a multi-year collaboration with FACET Innovations LLC to improve the effectiveness of the teaching of physics and physical science K-20 at a systemic level. Vokos is chair of the National Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics, member of the Executive Committee of the APS Forum on Education, and member of the AAPT Committee on Teacher Preparation. He has also served as a member and two-term chair of the AAPT Committee on Research in Physics Education.