- Year 2022
- NSF Noyce Award # 1949556
- First Name Qingxia
- Last Name Li
- Discipline Mathematics
Qingxia Li, Fisk University
This project addresses the nation’s critical need for Math and Science teachers of color by engaging in a one-year planning/capacity building process that results in a fully integrated curricular/co-curricular program, informed by national examples of excellence and: 1) brings STEM majors in mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, and computer science into early-and-often experiences with secondary school students and teachers to recruit and prepare these Fisk STEM majors for high impact career opportunities in secondary education, 2) creates a curricular pathway for licensure in secondary education while meeting the expectations of a STEM major, and 3) infuses the curriculum with training in cultural awareness and social justice to assure preparedness for the needs of students in high-need urban school districts.
Secondary schools, particularly those in high-priority districts struggle to fill math and science vacancies every year. The development of Noyce curricular, experiential and mentoring preparation assures both recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority STEM majors to preparation and licensure for Secondary STEM teaching. Informing students of the societal impact of secondary teaching as a career in light of the disparate salaries of professional teachers compared to other professional requires a multi-faceted approach complemented by experiential learning opportunities.
This project examined existing narratives of undergraduate STEM majors at Fisk University to understand their perceptions of teaching as a viable career option; explored potential experiences that change this narrative; and developed a trajectory into the teaching profession through a program that bridges their STEM background from Fisk, with experiences in 5-12 settings with Metropolitan Nashville Public School (MNPS) students, and pedagogical development through the secondary education program at Peabody College. This project strengthened existing partnerships with math and science teachers in MNPS, Nashville’s high-need school district, Nashville State Community College, and the existing Noyce Graduate Teaching Fellows program at Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt.
The STEM and Education faculty members worked together to obtain the SAP approvals in Mathematics, Physics, Biology, and Chemistry for 6-12 undergraduates with student teaching from the Tennessee Department of Education and prepared a balance sheet for students to complete the required coursework. The research team also interviewed Fisk students, faculty members, and MNPS high school teachers to identify the best practices to become a great high school teacher.
This program changed the narrative and explore the optimal curricular and experiential trajectory that assures the next generation of STEM teachers of color. This project team has reached out to MNPS secondary students who have a high interest in math and science, Nashville State Community College students who declare to be STEM majors, undergraduate STEM students who do not have a visible or viable trajectory into teaching, and the broader learning communities of Vanderbilt University, Fisk University, Nashville State Community College and MNPS.