Building a Tiered-participation Model for STEM Teacher Recruitment

  • NSF Noyce Award # 1240124
  • First Name Rong-Ji
  • Last Name Chen
  • Email
  • Discipline Math
  • Co-PI(s)

    Edward Price, California State University San Marcos,
    Andre Kundgen, California State University San Marcos,

  • Presenters

    Rong-Ji Chen, California State University San Marcos,


Not many undergraduate STEM majors are interested in becoming teachers. There is a need to promote teaching as a viable career option and to recruit STEM majors to the teacher credential program. We believe that a tired system in which STEM undergraduate have multiple chances to participate in a variety of early teaching experiences and network with peers can enhance effectiveness of STEM teacher recruitment.


Our overarching goal is to increase the number of STEM undergraduates on our campus that apply to our fifth-year credential program. To this end, we hope to (1) leverage various opportunities for STEM majors to gain early teaching experience, (2) increase STEM faculty?s buy-in to promote the Noyce program among their classes, (3) increase STEM undergraduates’ interaction with peers who are interested in exploring teaching as a career choice.


We have created a tiered-participation model for STEM students. The model has a few key components, including but are not limited to: a Learning Assistant program, a STEM Ambassador program, after-school ?Making? programs, a STEM tutoring center and math lab, a math subject matter preparation program for secondary teaching, and so on. As an example, a lower-division STEM student may participate as a mentor for middle school students in the after-school making program, move on to becoming an LA or STEM tutor, then apply for a Noyce scholarship, and ultimately enter the Teaching Credential program.


In the past 5 years, we have recruited 42 Noyce Scholars. More STEM undergraduate majors are aware of the Noyce program, and more STEM faculty participated in the recruitment effort.

Broader Impacts

Our project provides viable strategies for STEM teacher recruitment. (1) It takes a village to recruit STEM majors into the teaching profession. Math, science, and education faculty work as a team to convey a consistent message and ongoing encouragement to STEM undergraduates. (2) Undergraduate communities such as our Learning Assistant program and subject matter program provide a site in which STEM majors have the opportunity to explore teaching.

Posted on July 4, 2018