Shannon Willoughby

Email: shannon.willoughby @
Phone: 406-994-1673
Fax: 406-994-4452
Barnard Hall 224, MSU, Bozeman, 59717-3840, MT

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Curriculum Vitae


Biographical Sketch:

  • M.S., Ph.D. Physics, Tulane University 2003
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Chemistry and Geochemistry, Colorado School of Mines 2003-2005.
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Boulder, 2004-2005.


My research focuses on how students learn (and don't learn!) physics and astronomy.  Kathryn Williamson and I have finished creating and testing a concept inventory to gauge student understanding of Newtonian gravity concepts.  This concept inventory has been shown to be effective in testing student understanding of gravity in algebra based physics courses as well, and a manuscript detailing this portion of our research will be published within the next six months.  

Another project we are currently working on is measuring student attitudes toward science.  Using a valid and reliable attitude survey, baseline data was collected in Astronomy 110  for two years. The course was renovated and attitudes were measured again during the 2014-2015 academic year.  Results of this work have been presented at several recent American Association for Physics Teachers conferences.  

Selected Publications

  • "Epistemic Beliefs of non-STEM Majors Regarding the Nature of Science: Where They Are And What We Can Do."  S. D. Willoughby and K. Johnson.  Accepted, American Journal of Physics

  • "Applicability of the Newtonian Gravity Concept Inventory to introductory college physics classes" K Williamson, E. Prather and S. D. Willoughby.  American Journal of Physics. (Available here.)
  • "Development of the Newtonian Gravity Concept Inventory", K. Williamson, S. D. Willoughby and E. Prather.  (Available here)
  • "Student Understanding of Gravity in Introductory College Astronomy", K. Williamson and S. D. Willoughby. (Available here)
  •  "Encouraging Student Participation in Large Astronomy Courses", S. D. Willoughby. 
    (Available here)
  • "Exploring gender difference with different gain calculations in astronomy and biology", S. D. Willoughby and A. Metz. 
    (Available here)
  • "Technology talks:  Clickers and grading incentive in the large lecture hall", S. D. Willoughby and E. Gustavson
    (Available here)


Academic Responsibilities:

Classes being taught by Dr. Willoughby this semester are listed below.

Follow the link to find the online content for the class: