- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1758227
- First Name Kelly E.
- Last Name Demers
- Discipline N/A
Nicole Gugliucci, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicole Gugliucci, email@example.com
Blazing the Trail for STEM Teachers: A Noyce Capacity Building Project aimed to address the demand for qualified STEM teachers in the high-need school district of Manchester, New Hampshire, a federally designated resettlement community for immigrants and refugees. Saint Anselm College (SAC) offers a robust teacher preparation program with licensure in grade 7-12 chemistry, physics, mathematics, and life science, but these programs have been underutilized by STEM majors despite a growth in the overall student population. SAC is uniquely placed in being a small, liberal arts institution with ties to the community and its school district. This poster presentation describes how a semester-long after-school secondary teaching experience influenced the attitudes that undergraduate STEM majors at Saint Anselm College (SAC) had about teaching in a high-need district.
The long-term goal of the project team is to create a comprehensive program at Saint Anselm College (SAC) that will recruit, prepare, and support an increased number of STEM majors skilled at teaching in high-needs urban schools. In this project, the PI and Co-PI worked with other members of the SAC community to determine whether an innovative semester-long after-school teaching experience is effective for recruiting SAC STEM majors to pursue a joint degree in education. This facet of the project presented in this poster describes the effort to increase the number of STEM students pursuing a joint education degree and a degree in a STEM discipline by giving them an experience teaching high school students from the Manchester school district. In this poster session we will detail the structure of Access Academy, recruitment of SAC STEM instructors, and data from surveys and interviews with these instructors.
Our work was built around SAC’s existing Access Academy, which offers after-school courses to Manchester, NH, high school students. Created in 2010, Access Academy is overseen by the Meelia Center for Community Engagement, and targets underrepresented high school students as educators in the Manchester school district. Access Academy brings high school students onto the campus to take courses and receive guidance from trained SAC undergraduates under the oversight and mentorship of SAC faculty and professional staff. We developed four new STEM Access Academy courses with topics ranging from ‘science in books and movies’ to radio astronomy. Each course was co-taught by two or three STEM majors and a STEM/secondary education double-major in their second or third year of study, all of whom were mentored by a faculty advisor. The students were asked several questions about their attitudes towards teaching in high-need districts before and after the experience through surveys and interviews.
The analysis of survey and interview data indicated that SAC STEM majors (N=8) who served as instructors for Access Academy learned not only learned a great deal about teaching, but also are considering secondary education as a possible career interest where they had not done so before. Students described gaining a better understanding of the methods of teaching and of interacting with students from backgrounds different from their own. We also spoke with one STEM student who was not part of our grant project but took a job teaching high school after an experience with Access Academy in his senior year.
One of the goals of Saint Anselm College is to educate students who are ‘call[ed] to serve the common good.’ This capacity-building program helped fulfill this goal through the creation of a teacher education framework that supports the recruitment of more STEM majors into the college’s teaching education program. In addition, the small size of SAC and many other liberal arts colleges throughout the U.S., stands in sharp contrast with previous Noyce capacity-building grant recipients that serve large student populations supported by an extensive faculty. We believe that the outcomes and insights from our capacity-building project (bolstered by a future Track 1 Scholarships and Stipends program) will meaningfully contribute to the higher education community’s understanding of ways in which small liberal arts colleges nationwide.