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ERIC Number: EJ853242
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Mar
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 9
ISSN: ISSN-1539-1515
Insights from a Survey of Astronomy Instructors in Community and Other Teaching-Oriented Colleges in the United States
Fraknoi, Andrew
Astronomy Education Review, v3 n1 p7-16 Mar 2004
Estimates are that approximately 100,000 to 125,000 students take introductory astronomy classes each year at colleges and universities that do not grant bachelor's or higher degrees in physics or astronomy. This represents roughly 40% to 50% of the total number of students taking intro astronomy in the United States. Such nonresearch institutions include community colleges (of which there are approximately 1,200 in the United States), smaller liberal arts colleges, and state colleges and universities with only a general science department. The ongoing statistical reports from the American Institute of Physics (AIP) indicate that about 830 universities and colleges grant physics degrees (bachelor's and up), out of the total number of 2,200 four-year colleges and universities. The instructors of introductory astronomy at research universities and top liberal arts schools are likely to possess PhDs in astronomy or physics and to have been graduate students and teaching assistants (TAs) at institutions like those where they teach. But who teaches Astronomy 101 at the other lower tier institutions, which outnumber the AIP list institutions by four to one? The survey was announced in 1996 at meetings of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), and information about it was disseminated through the journals and newsletters of such organizations as the American Association of Physics Teachers, the National Science Teachers' Association, the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. In this article, the author reports on the 400 survey responses received. (Contains 3 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A