- Year 2022
- NSF Noyce Award # 2151141
- First Name Elsa
- Last Name Villa
- Discipline Computer Science
Elsa Villa, University of Texas at El Paso
Computer science (CS) is one of the least diverse disciplines, both in higher education and in the workforce. To meet this demand and diversify the profession, it is imperative to increase the number of CS secondary teachers, especially Latinx teachers, who can teach high quality CS content to attract and prepare young people, especially Latinxs, for postsecondary studies in CS. A projected increase of students in CS undergraduate studies could meet the future demand for computer scientists.
How effective is a one-year graduate program in Education and mentorship through the year-long teaching residency? What are Teaching Fellows’ perceptions of their preparedness to teach and serve linguistically/culturally diverse populations in high-need school districts? What is their perceived growth (e.g., self-efficacy, leadership skills, mindset, equity/inclusion awareness in CS education) over time during their four years of teaching?
Noyce Teaching Fellows (TFs) will be part of UTEP’s accelerated Master of Arts [MA] degree in Education with teacher certification, which includes a year-long teaching residency in our partner school district. The MA in Education with teacher certification includes an intensive, practice-based course sequence (nine Semester Credit Hours [SCH]), followed by a two-semester clinical residency experience, where TFs are placed at our partner campus four days/week and work alongside a master mentor teacher in the relevant certification area, which in this case is CS. TFs would also take five additional graduate courses during the residency, for a total of 30 SCHs over the one-year study period. UTEP’s MA with teacher certification program is unique in post-baccalaureate preparation programs in three key ways: (1) the residency model, which is considered to be a high-impact form of preparation that leads to greater retention of teachers in the profession; (2) the accelerated pathway to a master’s degree; and (3) the primarily Latinx teaching workforce that is prepared by UTEP’s program.
The expected outcome is ten highly qualified computer science graduates who will be poised to become teacher leaders in the region, state, and nation, given our partner CSforAll that is a national, non-profit organization that is a central resource for individuals and organizations to advance K-12 CS education through connecting with providers, schools and districts, funders, and researchers working toward the goal of providing quality CS education to every child in the U.S.
The program has high potential to impact the Paso del North region in Far West Texas through its recruitment and preparation of CS baccalaureate degree holders to become certified to teach secondary CS. With the majority of TFs expected to be Latinx, they will become role models for the secondary students they will teach and, thus, inspire and attract more Latinx high school students into post-secondary CS undergraduate studies. The project team has identified a number of venues where key stakeholders will be informed of the project findings and success in creating a robust pipeline of CS teachers into the Paso del Region of Far West Texas. The project has potential to become a model for preparing high quality CS teachers at the secondary level, which could be replicated at other sites across the nation. With UTEP as the lead institution for the NSF-funded Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI) and PI Villa as a member of the CAHSI backbone team, the model and research findings will also be disseminated across the 60 CAHSI partners comprised of academic institutions, non-profits, industry, and government — all who have a vested interest in CS education.