Noah Finkelstein

Noah Finkelstein

Educational Transformation at a Critical Time: The essential roles and promise of physicists

Significant, perhaps unprecedented, attention is being paid to the needs for transformation within the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at the undergraduate level.

This talk examines how higher education STEM disciplines, and physicists and physics departments in particular, are positioned to contribute to these discussions and address our challenges. I will review our own efforts in physics education transformation and the growth of work in physics education research (PER) at CU-Boulder as an example.

Our work develops a new theoretical line of inquiry in physics education research through experimental work at the individual, the course, and the departmental scales. I present samples of these scales reviewing: how we can build on understanding of student reasoning to study and transform our introductory through upper division courses, studies of how our environments do and do not support women in physics, and models for engaging in sustainable and scalable transformation.



Short biography

Noah Finkelstein is a Professor and Vice Chair (2021-2022) in the department of Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder.

He conducts research is in physics education, specifically studying the conditions that support students’ identities, engagement and outcomes in physics – developing models of context. In parallel, he conducts research on how educational transformations get taken up, spread, and sustained.

He is a PI in the Physics Education Research (PER) group and was founding co-director of CU’s Center for STEM Learning. He co-directs the national Network of STEM Education Centers, is building the international STEM DBER-Alliance, and coalitions advancing undergraduate education transformation.

He is involved in education policy, serving on many national boards in the U.S., sits on a National Academies’ STEM education roundtable, is a Trustee of the Higher Learning Commission (which accredits institutions of higher education), and is a Fellow of both the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Finkelstein is also a Presidential Teaching Scholar and the inaugural Timmerhaus Teaching Ambassador for the University of Colorado system.



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