- Year 2022
- NSF Noyce Award # 1852781
- First Name Roger
- Last Name Wolbert
- Discipline Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics
Roger Wolbert, John Kaul, Matthew Wilson, Edinboro University of PA
Our topic is important because we are learning how to effectively recruit during a pandemic while our university undergoes retrenchments, retirements, turnover of administration, and consolidations with other universities. We share tactics on how to maintain recruitment targets while providing scholars alternative experiences during restrictions due to COVID-19. There is likely little research in the field on how to transition a Noyce program to consolidated university during a pandemic.
How do you maintain a successful Noyce scholar program while your university consolidates with two other universities during a pandemic and where does the program go next?
Our approach to having a successful program during a pandemic was to swiftly move to using online resources for our scholars and the development of our seminar program. We focused on the need for monthly Zoom gatherings to develop community and provide support. In order to deal with major changes in the university, we constantly communicated with NSF and our grants office. For recruitment, we shifted our approach to target post-baccalaureates from our alumni, local universities, and consolidating universities in the NW PA.
Our key outcomes of our efforts is the increase in the number of post-baccalaureates who are looking to retool their training during the pandemic, despite taking classes online. We have a strong number of well-prepared scholars who are versed in online teaching and learning, flexible with shifting seiches, and know what it takes to persevere. Coming next is reapplying for the Noyce program with the consolidated universities to provide options to all PennWest students, and opening the program up to computer science majors.
The broader impact of our efforts is how to recruit more post-baccalaureate students to become certified teachers in all of western Pennsylvania instead of just northwestern PA through the consolidated universities of the newly formed Pennsylvania Western University of PA. The need for STEM teachers in high-need school districts remains, and knowing how to offer a strong STEM teacher training program from multiple campuses is where we’ll go next.