I see Knowles Fellows creating a tight, strong community in which the highest of standards of teaching are met and surpassed. I am constantly impressed by the passion, the dedication, and the incredible skill of the Fellows and hope to support them as they improve science and math teaching in this country.”

Michael’s Story

Michael C. Wittmann joined the Knowles Board of Trustees in May 2016. Dr. Wittmann received his B.S. in physics from Duke University in 1993. He completed graduate studies in physics at the University of Maryland, where he received his M.S. in 1996 and his Ph.D. in 1998, specializing in physics education research. From 1998 to the end of 2000, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland. In January 2001, Dr. Wittmann was hired as an assistant professor at the University of Maine. He was promoted to associate professor in physics in 2007 and professor in 2013. From 2014 to 2016, he served as Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Wittmann is currently on a leave of absence from the University of Maine. In June 2021, he joined APS Physics as the Head of Education.

The overall theme of Dr. Wittmann’s teaching and research is seeing things—what do you see, what does it tell you, how do you understand it, what do you do next? These questions inform both his teaching and his research.

Dr. Wittmann has taught classes for non-science majors, physics majors, and graduate students learning both physics and physics education research, as well as courses on educational psychology and research methods in education. He has also taught teacher preparation courses, introductory physics classes, and upper-division classes in quantum physics for engineering students.

His research interests include teachers’ knowledge of content and knowledge of students’ ideas, teachers’ interactions with students, and teacher professional development communities; students’ understanding of physics content and tools; researchers’ observations and models of their observations of student thinking; and models of learning that include the human body and their connections to schema theories. Much of Dr. Wittmann’s research takes place within the context of the Maine Physical Sciences Partnership (MainePSP) and the Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center).