State Approves New Physics Program

Story By Christian Pierce

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Did you know there’s a shortage of science teachers in Arkansas? Did you know that two teachers are working on helping to solve that problem?

Rick McDaniel and Basil Miller have worked hard to receive a new licensure that is one step further in the direction they’re heading. 

The licensure was approved by the Arkansas Department of Education. Since Arkansas has a shortage of science teachers, this new license is a way to help train more science teachers.

“Our goal is to train employable and hard working science teachers,” Basil Miller, professor of physics, said.

According to the American Association of Physics Teachers(AAPT) website, “Only 47 percent of physics classes are taught by a teacher with a degree in the subject, compared with 73 percent of biology classes and about 80 percent of humanities classes.”

This new physics license will draw more physics majors, and will continue for generations to come. 

“Henderson is tied for second for UCA with graduating 8-9 physics majors a year,” Rick McDaniel, professor and chair at Henderson, said.

Having physics graduates from Henderson every year, most of them have jobs as mechanical engineers, professors at universities, working in oil fields, petroleum engineers and computers programmers. 

In order to receive this licensure, Basil Miller and Rick McDaniel had to take physic courses and educational core courses that will work up to a four year degree plan.

In a news release, McDaniel stated, “High school physics is a prerequisite for nearly all STEM careers. The shortage of physics teachers are leaving too many students unprepared for college study in STEM disciples.”

Although Henderson has a bachelor of science program, there are not any educational courses, or methods that are included, so students wouldn’t be able to teach. 

A physics major that wants to teach is required to pass all the Praxis exams, and enroll in a master of arts teaching program. 

This new program has many of the courses from the physics degree. It also includes a teacher preparation curriculum and will also have field and clinical experiences.

For any graduates of this new program they would also have to pass all the Praxis exams, and be admitted in the educator preparation program. 

They would then have to pass admission and exit interviews, along with more requirements. Those that are successful will be able to teach after receiving their undergraduate degree.

This new program will create help and produce a higher rate of physic graduates at Henderson. 

If anyone needs more information about this new program they can contact McDaniel or Miller. 

“We hope that this program will be successful throughout the years to come,” McDaniel said.

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State Approves New Physics Program