Stephanie Majewski

Physics | 541-346-5872

Courses: Physics 290, 412, 413, 662

In my classes you will:

  • Practice foundational, transferrable skills.
  • Learn with and from peers.

I was invited into the Teaching Academy because:

  • I participated in a Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching.

In what ways are you working to make your teaching inclusive?

I strive to create an inclusive environment in the classroom by having the students in my class work together in small groups (and rotate those groups so that everyone has a chance to work together), while recognizing students of all genders. I have been working to improve the transparency of my course design in order to ensure all students understand how they will be evaluated. In my research, I am a member of a 3,000-person scientific collaboration with scientists from 38 countries. In the classroom, I have the students practice communicating their scientific explanations among one another so that they are better prepared for careers in research or industry.

What do you do in terms of professional engagement with the teaching and learning culture on campus or nationally?

I participate in the Science Literacy Program (SLP) and have supervised SLP fellows. I have participated in Quark Net (an annual outreach event aimed at high school physics teachers in Oregon) and presented at the Oregon American Association of Physics Teachers meeting in October 2018. I attended a Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching in 2015 and was a group facilitator at the Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching in 2018.

In what ways was your teaching in this course research-led—informed by research on how students learn and inflected by UO's research mission?

I incorporate critical thinking exercises such as back-of-the-envelope calculations and visualizing simple models in order to build the students' intuitions for otherwise abstract concepts; these exercises are designed to develop skills that will help them succeed in a research environment.

What is your favorite aspect of teaching physics?

I especially enjoy watching our determined physics majors struggle with, and eventually master, difficult concepts and build their confidence in their abilities. For example, when a student comes to my office hours completely stuck on a particularly challenging problem, and then with only a bit of encouragement makes a breakthrough. I find it extremely satisfying to attend our department graduation ceremony a year later and watch that same student, brimming with confidence, walk across the stage, ready to tackle anything.

How do you find your creativity?

Music! I have played the viola since I was young, and enjoy attending Eugene Symphony performances. I find that many scientists are also musicians; studying music exercised my analytical and creative sides. Being a successful member of an orchestra requires the ability to listen well and to both lead and follow when appropriate. I find this to be incredibly applicable to successfully working in a scientific collaboration.