- Year 2023
- NSF Noyce Award # 1439848
- First Name John K
- Last Name Coleman
- Discipline Chemistry, Computer Science, Life Sciences, Mathematics
John K. Coleman
Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) occupations are expected to grow at a much higher rate than non-STEM occupations (17.0 percent from 2008 to 2018 compared to 9.8 percent)(Economics and Statistics Administration, 2011). This has led to a growing number of STEM graduates working in non-STEM fields – while STEM employers continue to cite a shortage of qualified workers.(US Congress JEC Report. 2012). The problem is exacerbated because the core competencies obtained by STEM graduates are increasingly in demand by non-STEM employers. Now, according to the National Science Board, “all students [must] develop their capabilities in STEM to levels much beyond what was considered acceptable in the past,” even for previously low-skilled jobs. The STEM pipeline needs to be expanded, and most efforts are focused on increasing the number of STEM graduates. An essential factor in accomplishing this goal is great STEM teachers, with both deep content knowledge in STEM subjects and mastery of the pedagogical skills required to teach these subjects (PCAST, 2010). Despite the need for competency, fewer than half of chemistry and physics teachers majored in those subjects, and a quarter of math teachers don’t hold math degrees, according to a National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) study that surveyed high school teachers during the 2007-2008 school year (NCES, 2007-2008).
Can Langston University increase its production of highly qualified STEM teachers who have mastered a specific STEM discipline and who will teach in Oklahoma’s high needs school districts?
LU deployed a 7-point strategy to achieve it’s goal. The strategy includes 1)targeted recruiting, 2) scholarship and other financial support, 3) compliance and sustainability, 4) rigorous candidate induction process, 5) a series of retention activities, 6) analytics, and 7) post-program follow up.
LUs Noyce program has already increased the production of LUs STEM teachers for each of LUs STEM disciplines between 100 percent (computer science) and 900 percent (chemistry). There are 12 Noyce Teacher Program participants currently teaching STEM subjects. These new STEM teachers have been recognized for their superior STEM knowledge base, as well as their adeptness in managing a classroom environment. Another group of 12 are currently receiving formal support so that they can pass teacher certifications.
Broader Impacts include substantively improving the quality of K-12 STEM teachers in high needs districts in Oklahoma. Graduates from LU’s Noyce Teachers program have subject matter mastery in STEM disciplines, including real research experiences. Research shows that students in K-12 grades are influenced by competent, caring teachers who look like them (Achinstein et al. 2011), and that is exactly what Langston University is contributing.