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John Stewart

Associate Professor

Physics Education Research

John Stewart received his PhD from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1994 for work in Condensed Matter Theory. Since that time he has directed his efforts toward Physics Education Research. His work attempts both to further understanding about how physics classes produce understanding and how physics departments can work more effectively to serve all students. He was part of the team that led the physics departmental transformation at the University of Arkansas which increased the number of physics graduates from 2 per year to 27 per year and made the department a national leader in the graduation of highly qualified physics teachers.

His primary research interest is the understanding physics class functioning, how that function can be improved, and the description of the knowledge state of physics students. Through the STEM-R grant, he also studies how math and science classes influence student retention and through the Pulsar Search Collaboratory grant how informal science programs shape student career decisions.

He is the site leader of the American Physical Society’s PhysicsTeacher Education Coalition WVU site which works to graduate more highly qualified high school physics teachers in partnership with WVUteach. WVUteach is a UTeach replication site which allows STEM majors to earn both a degree in their discipline and a teaching certification in 4 years.  He am also the PI for the WVUteach Robert Noyce Scholarship program which will aid the transition to teaching for all late career WVU STEM majors.

He is currently (2017) the Chair of the American Physical Society’s Forum on Education and the American Association of Physics Teachers’ Committee on Teacher Preparation.  He was for many years the editor of the National Science Digital Library’s portal on physics and astronomy teacher preparation. He was elected an APS Fellow in 2016 for his work on teacher preparation and departmental transformation.

For more information about the many projects he and his wife have been involved in and for resources for teachers and students visit, our personal web site.

Selected Publications:

State and Coherence of Physics Knowledge

DeVore, S., Stewart, J., & Stewart, G. (2016). “Examining the effects of testwiseness in conceptual physics evaluations,” Physical Review Physics Education Research, 12, 020138.

John Stewart, Mayo Miller, Christine Audo, and Gay Stewart, “Using cluster analysis to identify patterns in students’ responses to contextually different conceptual problems,” Physical Review Physics Education Research,  8, 020112 (2012).

Physics Class Function

Stewart, J., DeVore, S., Stewart, G., & Michaluk, L. (2016). “Behavioral self-regulation in a physics class,” Physical Review Physics Education Research,12(1), 010125.

John Stewart, Jennifer Taylor, and Gay Stewart, “Using Time-on-Task Measurements to Understand Student Performance in a Physics Class: A Four-Year Study,” Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 8, 010114 (2012).

Departmental Transformation

John Stewart, William Oliver III, and Gay Stewart, “Revitalizing an Undergraduate Physics Program: A Case Study of the University of Arkansas,” American Journal of Physics, 81, 943 (2013).

Student Affect and Retention

Rachel Henderson, John Stewart, and Cheryl Murphy, “The Role of Personality and Self-Efficacy in Achievement in Science Classes,” American Education Research Association Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, 2017.

J. Stewart and C. Murphy, “The Role of Personality and Gender in Science and Engineering Performance,” American Education Research Association Annual Meeting, Washington DC, 2016.

Online Education

Murphy, C. A., and Stewart, J. C. “The Impact of Online or F2F Lecture Choice on Student Achievement and Engagement in a Large Lecture-Based Science Course: Closing the Gap,” Online Learning Journal19(3), 2015.