Thomas O'Kuma

Chair, Mathematics , Engineering & Sciences Division
Lee College
P. O. Box 818
Baytown, TX 77522-0818


Background Information

I hold a MS degree from Louisiana Tech University in Physics with advanced physics work at the University of Florida. For the last 25 years I have been involved in faculty development for new TYC and HS physics instructors and developing and implementing instructional tools using results from physics education research. Some of this work led to the publication of two books on Ranking Tasks and another book on emTIPERs. At Lee College, a community college in Texas near Houston, I have been teaching physics for the last 24 years and I am currently serving a second three-year term as Chair of the Mathematics, Engineering, and Sciences Division.

Related Pedagogical Projects

I have been actively involved with improving physics education at the state and national level for the last twenty-six years. My major involvement has been through National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored projects through 3-day intensive workshops and two-week long multiple year programs.
The 3-day intensive workshops provide hands-on experience to community college and high school physics teachers in new pedagogical approaches that they can implement in the classes immediately or in the near future. Eighty-eight of these workshops have been done during the last twenty-one years on a variety of pedagogical approaches and at a variety of different venues. Many participants have attended more than one of the workshops. These workshops have had over 1,500 attendees from 47 states and 3 US territories.
The two-week long multiple year programs provided hands-on experience with both pedagogical approaches and physics content experiences. Four 3-year physics programs were conducted primarily for science-composite certified high school teachers. Master high school physics teachers provided the pedagogical training and helped university and college faculty provide the content instruction. This program had 96 participants, all from Texas. Seven 1 or 2-year programs were conducted for community college physics instructors. Experienced community college faculty provided the pedagogical training and along with university faculty provided modern physics topics instruction. This program had 151 participants from 34 states and 1 US territory.

I have been an active member in the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) for over 3 decades serving in many areas as well as President in 1999. I have also been an active member of the Texas Section AAPT for over 3 decades serving as President as well as Section Representatives for many years.