- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1439866
- First Name Heather
- Last Name Johnson
- Discipline Biology, Chemistry, Geosciences, Math, Physics
David Weintraub, Vanderbilt University, david.a.weintraub@Vanderbilt.Edu
Heather Johnson, Vanderbilt University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nearly one-third of high-priority secondary schools in urban contexts struggle to find STEM qualified teachers to fill available openings (Ingersoll, 2011; Ingersoll & Perda, 2010). Uneven preparation has constrained the pool of STEM majors (Jacobs, 2005), particularly STEM majors of color, in turn reducing the number of STEM candidates who seek teacher licensure. Teacher education programs need to work harder to attract STEM talent into teaching, and even harder to attract and retain candidates of color from STEM backgrounds into teaching.
Vanderbilt University (a PWI) is supporting the programmatic and licensure work required for STEM majors to be prepared to teach in high-priority STEM classrooms. As such, we have a goal to recruit more candidates of color into our program, often transitioning from Fisk, or other HBCUs, into Vanderbilt for graduate work. The guiding question for this work is, What structures and supports are most helpful for STEM majors of color to be attracted to an MEd program at a PWI, complete the program, and make a commitment to teach in STEM areas in high-priority schools?
A collaborative Noyce program involving two universities and one school district are attracting two populations of STEM students into teaching: upper-level undergraduate STEM majors and STEM professionals. Partnerships within and across all three sites have developed and strengthened over the course of the project to both recruit and retain STEM majors of color into teaching in high-priority schools. This poster will describe the partnerships, the stakeholders, and the gaps the partners are filling by working together to support preservice and induction year Noyce scholars.
To meet the needs of our candidates, we have discovered the importance of working collaboratively to synergistically solve more than one problem together: • Mentorship: Particularly for candidates who enroll in Vanderbilt’s MEd program (a PWI) and are coming from a STEM major completed at an HBCU, we have discovered the importance of multiple mentors – one at the primary institution for licensure (PWI) who provides advising and academic guidance; one at the HBCU as an additional academic mentor who also offers important guidance around life skills and general emotional and personal health; and at least one in field to help the scholars learn to navigate high-quality teaching in high-priority school settings Peer Mentorship: The Noyce scholars appreciate having a cohort of support while going through the program, but they also like to have connections to lived experiences of scholars who are a step ahead of them in their careers. Similarly, the induction year scholars like staying connected with the university and the new Noyce scholars. Improved instructional capacity: Both informally and formally, induction year scholars have invited Noyce scholars in their classrooms to provide them with sites for completing assignments for courses and places where they can explore new pedagogies they are learning about. The Noyce scholars have also been able to stretch the instructional capacity of the teachers in their induction years by being an extra set of hands in the classroom, and even helping to coplan and assess lessons. Ultimately, this all benefits the secondary students in the science and math classrooms.
Our research aims to challenge the notion that only certain students can be successful in STEM. Whereas the nation still reports that 80% of teachers identify as white (National Center for Education Statistics, 2017), this program is committing to recruit a majority of scholars identifying as candidates of color. We have chosen to work with underrepresented STEM majors, with a particular goal of recruiting STEM majors of color into teaching because they are less likely to enroll in STEM fields of study and carry on to STEM professions. The broader impacts of this work will reach secondary students who have a high interest in STEM subjects, undergraduate STEM students, mentor teachers who support our Noyce scholars in the field, and the broader learning communities within and across Vanderbilt University, Fisk University, and MNPS.