The out in public outreach at weber state university
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The “Out” in “Public Outreach” at Weber State University. Brad Carroll, Dept. Physics, WSU. Four Strategies:. Traditional outreach Bringing selected groups to WSU Sending faculty and majors to public schools Interdisciplinary outreach to non-majors. Traditional Outreach.

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The “Out” in “Public Outreach” at Weber State University

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The out in public outreach at weber state university

The “Out” in “Public Outreach”at Weber State University

Brad Carroll, Dept. Physics, WSU


Four strategies

Four Strategies:

  • Traditional outreach

  • Bringing selected groups to WSU

  • Sending faculty and majors to public schools

  • Interdisciplinary outreach to non-majors


Traditional outreach

Traditional Outreach

  • Talks for Lions, Elks, Audubon clubs

  • Guest commentaries in local papers, magazines

  • Presentations for local elementary and high school classes


Traditional outreach1

Traditional Outreach

  • Ritchey Lecture (endowed) given annually

  • Gene Shoemaker, Steve Vogt (extrasolar planets)


Traditional outreach2

Traditional Outreach

  • Get out where the people are!

  • Physics booth at the Weber County Fair

  • Exhibit in theater for “Attack of the Clones”


Traditional outreach3

Traditional Outreach

  • Planetarium run by director and 5 physics students

  • 18 astronomy classes taught in planetarium

  • Hosts ~200 events yearly to ~8000 people (nearly half are special presentations to school groups)

  • Budget $4500/yr, plus grant from Utah State Office of Museum Services


Traditional outreach4

Traditional Outreach

  • Student-run public observing sessions at WSU

  • Free every Wednesday night

  • Supported by Ogden Astronomical Society

  • Most telescopes donated


Traditional outreach5

Traditional Outreach

  • ~20 off-site public star parties per year

  • Numerous locations, including out-of-state and public schools

  • Run by faculty and Ogden Astronomical Society


Traditional outreach6

Traditional Outreach

  • Ogden Nature Center

  • Summer Solstice Celebration

  • Creatures of the Night (Halloween)


Traditional outreach7

Traditional Outreach

  • Natural Science Museum

  • Run by emeritus faculty

  • Coordinates with planetarium in serving school groups

  • Budget a few $k

  • Grant from Utah State Office of Museum Services

  • In Lind Lecture Hall


Student activity scholarships

Student Activity Scholarships

  • Full tuition waiver

  • Participate in community and school district outreach programs

  • Planetarium and museum each have two scholarships, physics department has one

  • Prepare for a fight persuading your university scholarship committee to grant these!


Selected groups to wsu

Selected Groups to WSU

  • S4 (Science Seminars for Superior Students)

  • Run by Center for Science and Math Education

  • Presentations by faculty and outside specialists


Selected groups to wsu1

Selected Groups to WSU

  • Utah State Science Olympiad

  • Run by Center for Science and Math Education

  • Physics faculty and students are event supervisors


Selected groups to wsu2

Selected Groups to WSU

  • MESA (Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement) and STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering) programs

  • Increase the number of underrepresented minorities and women who enter and succeed in science and engineering

  • Tours given by faculty and physics majors

  • Statewide, reaches over 3000 annually


Selected groups to wsu3

Selected Groups to WSU

  • Science teacher workshops (NASA, NSTA)

  • Run by Center for Science and Math Education

  • Taught by faculty


To public schools

To Public Schools

  • SPS tutoring in high schools

  • Awarded the Blake Lilly Prize


To public schools1

To Public Schools

  • “From Spreadsheets to Space” video distributed to local high schools

  • Produced by physics faculty and majors


To public schools2

To Public Schools

  • Model rocket clubs

  • Supervised by physics faculty and students


To public schools3

To Public Schools

  • Project Starshine

  • Shuttle will place a mirrored satellite into orbit for observation by K-12 students

  • Director Gil Moore (Morton Thiokol)

  • Physics faculty supervise polishing of mirrors by public school students


To public schools4

To Public Schools

  • “Gifted and talented” programs

  • Activities led by physics faculty


To public schools5

To Public Schools

  • After-school enrichment programs

  • Presentations by faculty and students


Interdisciplinary outreach

Interdisciplinary Outreach

  • Half-time physics faculty position belongs to WSU Honors Program

  • One course per semester taught for Honors Program

  • “Energy and the Environment”“Energy and Entropy”“Physics of the Mundane”

  • Three Cortez professors in physics

  • Physics faculty on Honors Faculty Advisory Council

  • “Pizza with a Prof” talks


Interdisciplinary outreach1

Interdisciplinary Outreach

  • “Physics in the Plays of Tom Stoppard”

  • Read Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Arcadia, and Hapgood

  • Theme: How much control do we have over our lives (philosophy and physics)?


Interdisciplinary outreach2

Interdisciplinary Outreach

  • In preparation: “Measuring the World”

  • Read Mason & Dixon by Thomas PynchonThe Measure of Reality by Alfred W. CrosbyComing of Age in the Milky Way by Timothy Ferris


Interdisciplinary outreach3

Interdisciplinary Outreach

  • Interdisciplinary faculty collaborations

  • A five-year series of independent study courses on astronomy with a WSU artist

  • Painting selected by Swedish Academy of Sciences for 2003 Nobel physics poster


Interdisciplinary outreach4

Interdisciplinary Outreach

  • “Principles of Physical Science” for elementary education majors

  • Team-taught with a chemist

  • Students have close contact with both instructors


Interdisciplinary outreach5

Interdisciplinary Outreach

  • Physics majors as ambassadors

  • Some SPS events open to all


Essential ingredients

Essential Ingredients

  • Commitment to volunteer and service work

  • Cohesive self-motivated group (faculty and students)

  • Realistic goals


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