- Year 2016
- NSF Noyce Award # 1439776
- First Name Alan
- Last Name Feldman
- Discipline Science Education
Frederick Bradley, University of South Florida, firstname.lastname@example.org
Our nation’s persistent shortage of qualified science teachers has been linked to issues regarding students’ overall educational performance and future well-being. Hillsborough County Public School (HCPS) district in Florida is experiencing very high shortages, especially in those schools that serve large numbers of students in poverty. This condition we believe can be at least partially attributed to the limited number of new, highly qualified science teachers being produced at institutions of higher education in the Tampa Bay Area. The Robert Noyce Scholarship Program for Science Majors at the University of South Florida (USF) seeks to address this need by providing students access to an attractive, viable and rewarding career path into secondary science teaching by combing the undergraduate major with an accelerated path to the Master of Arts in Teaching with certification (the Science Teacher Accelerated Master’s Program (STAMP). This Noyce project at USF is a collaborative effort including members of the university’s College of Education (COE), College of Arts and Science (CAS) and HCPS.
The objectives of the Program are to:
** Recruit 12 science majors per year for three years into the Accelerated Program to prepare them to teach science at the secondary level (grades 6-12).
** Prepare the science majors to teach using reform and evidence-based practices.
** Develop the science majors’ understanding of the nature of science,
** Improve the science majors’ ability to engage in and teach others how to engage in the practices of science engineering.
** Continue relationships with and provide support to Scholars throughout their first two years of teaching.
** Engage Scholars in ongoing activities and experiences designed to develop a professional learning community to provide long-term peer support.
** Engage 20 summer Interns in research experiences with science education faculty in CAS and COEDU.
A major part of our efforts in the first two years of the project has been to develop and seek approval of accelerated programs in biology, chemistry and physics, and to recruit students to these new academic programs.
Our approach draws upon an analysis of first time in college (FTIC) biology majors showed that less than 30% of the 1100 students graduated from their initial major. In addition, roughly 200 students were characterized as being in good academic standing and capable of completing their degree without significant remediation. These types of students are the primary targets of the Robert Noyce USF Scholarship Program’s recruitment efforts. In addition, the project includes summer research internships in science education (RISE) for undergraduates. The structure of the internships is based on the growing literature on how people learn to do science.
Accelerated MAT programs have been approved for majors in biology, chemistry and physics. We are currently developing the program for the geosciences.
At current recruitment efforts have not produced desired results. At this time two scholars have completed their undergraduate requirements and will be entering the MAT program in the fall. There are three students in the pipeline to begin STAMP in fall 2016. Two students competed summer RISE internships in summer 2015. Four students are doing internships this summer.
The project has been involved in extensive recruitment efforts including information sessions for undergraduate advisors in the sciences; the use of social media; informational visits to courses taken by science majors and to a wide variety of science clubs for undergraduates; advertisements in the student newspaper; and a recruiting event with local science teachers, principals, and school district officials.
We believe that one of the impediments to our recruitment effort is the target audience – students in their junior year of studies. These students are not necessarily thinking deeply about what comes after graduation. Therefore, we believe that it will take time to get the word out to these students about the opportunity provided by the accelerated program and the Noyce scholarships. In addition, USF has a large percentage of transfer students who start at the University in what would be their junior years. In addition to increasing our recruiting effort with that population after they arrive at USF, we also plan to work with academic advising at Hillsborough Community College (HCC), which is the largest source of transfer students.