Physics Teacher in Residence, 2016-17

The James Madison University Department of Physics and Astronomy invites experienced high school teachers to apply for a Physics Teacher in Residence (TIR) position for the 2016-17 academic year. We seek outstanding high school physics teachers to serve as local experts in our physics teacher education program. Teachers in closely related fields, including middle school physical science, will also be considered. Ideal candidates include current teachers and we will work with them to arrange logistics as discussed below.


As high school physics enrollments continue to climb, the demand for high-quality teachers prepared with pedagogical content knowledge in physics increases. As a TIR, you will inspire and train the next generation of teachers by engaging directly in the pedagogical training of JMU physics majors. In addition, this is an opportunity to reconnect with research-based physics pedagogy, serve as a representative of physics teacher education both regionally and nationally, and take advantage of other opportunities at JMU based on your personal interests.


The TIR will serve as mentor and voice of experience for a PhysTEC (Physics Teacher Education Coalition, funded program to support the education of future high school physics teachers. The TIR will co-instruct our Physics Pedagogy course, mentor pre-service teachers and undergraduate Learning Assistants, and serve as liaison with the College of Education. The TIR will receive support to attend the national PhysTEC/AAPT summer meeting. Additional opportunities exist based on the applicant's interests.


In the PhysTEC model, students are given early opportunities to experience teaching by serving as paid Learning Assistants (LAs). LAs, typically sophomore physics majors, facilitate conceptual tutorials in introductory physics courses based on the University of Washington's Tutorials in Physics. LAs enroll in a pedagogy course, developed in collaboration with physics faculty by Dr. John Almarode (JMU Education), an expert in STEM education and the Science of Learning. While required of the LAs, the pedagogy course is open to all interested students. LAs also attend a weekly meeting with the TIR and the LA Coordinator (Dr. Scott Paulson) to prepare for the upcoming tutorial and discuss likely conceptual hurdles. Interested students pursue additional coursework through the College of Education, including practicum experiences in area schools. Our goal is to foster a community of students interested in teaching, offer them opportunities to explore teaching as a future career, and provide the training and mentoring necessary for future success.


The TIR position is a 9-month full-time, non-tenure track faculty position for the 2016-17 academic year. Teachers unable to participate for the 2016-17 academic year who are interested in potentially applying for future TIR positions should contact the PhysTEC site coordinator (Dr. Brian Utter, The Department of Physics and Astronomy has 21 full-time faculty members and approximately 130 students in our multi-track baccalaureate program. James Madison University, located in Harrisonburg, VA, in the Shenandoah Valley, is a primarily undergrduate institution with an enrollment of over 20,000 students.


Ideal candidates include current teachers and teachers in transition between jobs. We encourage current teachers to contact us to discuss ways to coordinate logistics with their school district and plan for the teacher's temporary leave. For instance, it is possible for JMU to help negotiate for the teacher's leave as a Teacher on Specaial Assigmnment and reimburse the district directly to maintain the teacher's participation in retirement and health plans. Teachers may also use JMU resources, during the TIR year and beyond, to benefit the district, including pursuing funding for projects at their home school. We are happy to discuss models that have worked in the past, both at JMU and other PhysTEC institutions.


Applications will be reviewed starting on February 26, 2016 and will be accepted until the position is filled. To apply, follow the link to the JMU Joblink system ( and reference posting (0407164 ). In addition to completing the online faculty profile, candidates will be asked to provide a cover letter, a resume/curriculum vitae, and a list of three references. The cover letter should detail the applicant's interest in the position, relevant experience, and approach to physics teaching. The minimum job requirements are a Bachelor's Degree and relevant teaching experience.


For additional information, please contact Dr. Scott Paulson, Associate Professor of Physics, Additional information is also available online about JMU ( and the Department of Physics and Astronomy (


JMU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action/equal access employer and especially encourages applications from minorities, women, and persons with disabilities.

Contact Us