- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1852784
- First Name Barbara
- Last Name Ehlers
- Discipline Biology, Chemistry, Physics
Paul Skrade, Upper Iowa University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara Ehlers, Upper Iowa University, email@example.com
Iowa is confronted by an ongoing shortage of teachers trained in STEM endorsement areas. The Iowa Department of Education (IDE) publishes a list each year that rank orders teacher shortages by endorsement areas. IDE uses a formula from the US Department of Education to develop that list, taking into account the number of jobs posted, the number of applicants for those jobs, the number of licenses issued, and the number of people prepared in each endorsement area. ‘All Science’, an Iowa STEM degree for teacher licensure, and Mathematics have been on that list for several years. For the 2018 – 2019 school year, ‘All Science’ was one of the highest shortage endorsement areas.
The FAST team working with Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) and 16 area Northeast Iowa Schools has established the following: Inquiry 1: Collect more specific data that establishes a clearer benchmark for the number of unfilled STEM teacher positions in northeast Iowa. Inquiry 2: Gather information about why so few UIU and STEM majors decide to pursue teaching as a career. Inquiry 3: Develop effective strategies for recruiting teacher candidates from the population of STEM majors.
Work Plan: 1. Develop STEM Education degree plans with Northeast Iowa Community College. 2. Convene team from UIU Admissions and Marketing to prepare STEM Education recruitment materials. 3. Connect with area high school guidance counselors. 4. Survey school district administrators. 5. Survey northeast Iowa STEM teachers. 6. Conduct focus groups of UIU STEM majors.
Anticipated Outcomes include: data that establishes the number of unfilled STEM teacher positions in northeast Iowa; information about why so few UIU STEM majors decide to pursue teaching as a career; and effective strategies for recruiting teacher candidates from the population of UIU and NICC STEM majors.
This project will: improve recruitment and preparation of Northeast Iowa STEM teachers; streamline the transfer process for STEM education majors; encourage more UIU STEM majors to become STEM teachers; produce quality STEM educators for teaching positions in Northeast Iowa. Next Steps: Apply for a NOYCE Grant to fund scholarships for STEM Education Majors.