Kennesaw State ranked as leader in physics teacher preparation

  Pictured above from left to right: Eden Hunt, Kennesaw Mountain High School; Naoman Malik,…

Georgia (Feb 12, 2015) —  

Pictured above from left to right: Eden Hunt, Kennesaw Mountain High School; Naoman Malik, Walton High School; David Rosengrant, Kennesaw State University; Doug Pekkanen, Sprayberry High School; and Tracey Beyer, River Ridge High School. Not pictured: Meghan Lang, Cambridge High School.

National group recognizes colleges and universities helping to address severe shortage of high school physics teachers

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Feb. 12, 2015) —The Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) recently recognized Kennesaw State as a leader in physics teacher preparation. The national organization selected Kennesaw State as an inductee into its inaugural “The 5+ Club,” a group of institutions that has graduated five or more physics teachers in a given year.

“Kennesaw State is honored to be recognized by the Physics Teacher Education Coalition, and we take great pride in knowing we are striving to do our best to educate the next generation of physics teachers,” said Dean Mark Anderson. “This designation recognizes the hard work and dedication of our physics education faculty to produce more physics educators.”

Kennesaw State was one of only 11 institutions nationwide included in the rankings for the 2013-2014 year, which was led by Brigham Young University with 17. Some other well-known schools on the list were Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the University of Minnesota, University of Arkansas, Illinois State University, Rutgers University, Georgia State University and The College of New Jersey.

According to PhysTEC, the majority of U.S. institutions graduate fewer than two physics teachers a year, and the most common number of graduates is zero.

Graduating five or more physics teachers a year is a significant achievement, helping to address the severe national shortage of high school physics teachers.

“This is an honor to be singled out by PhysTEC,” said David Rosengrant, associate professor of physics education, and a proponent of the national group. “For a long time, physics has demonstrated a low enrollment among major fields of study in the sciences. If we are ever going to close the science education gap, however, we are going to need more teachers of physics in America’s classrooms.”

Housed within Kennesaw State’s College of Science and Mathematics, the physics education concentration is appropriate for the student who enjoys the study of physics and plans to pursue a professional career in teaching physics at the middle and/or high school levels.

Four of the five Kennesaw State graduates teach in Cobb County. They are: Tracey Beyer, River Ridge High School; Eden Hunt, Kennesaw Mountain High School; Naoman Malik, Walton High School; and Doug Pekkanen, Sprayberry High School. Meghan Lang teaches at Cambridge High School in Fulton County. 

The United States has a severe, long-term shortage of qualified physics teachers. In their 2014 report, the American Association for Employment in Education found that the teacher shortage in physics is No. 1 among 59 education fields. In fact, in 2013 the National Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics reported, “the need for qualified teachers is greater now than at any previous time in history.” However, of the approximately 1,400 new teachers who are hired to teach physics each year, only 35 percent have degrees in physics or physics education.

PhysTEC, a flagship education program of the American Physical Society (APS), aims to improve the education of future physics teachers by transforming physics departments, creating successful models for physics teacher education programs, and disseminating best practices. The project has funded more than 40 sites to build physics teacher education programs. For more details, visit

The PhysTEC program is led by APS in partnership with the American Association of Physics Teachers, with support from the National Science Foundation.

The American Physical Society ( is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy and international activities. APS represents over 50,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, MD (Headquarters), Ridge, NY, and Washington, D.C.

Robert S. Godlewski; Photo by Morin Rufai


Kennesaw State University College of Science and Mathematics


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit