- Year 2016
- NSF Noyce Award # 1240083
- First Name Donna
- Last Name Stokes
- Discipline Physics
Paige Evans, University of Houston, firstname.lastname@example.org; Simon Bott, University of Houston, email@example.com
Donna Stokes, University of Houston, firstname.lastname@example.org; Paige Evans, University of Houston, email@example.com; Simon Bott, University of Houston, firstname.lastname@example.org
The University of Houston Robert Noyce Scholarship Program is addressing the shortage of qualified teachers in high need areas of physics and chemistry through recruitment, preparation and retention of teachers for secondary physics and chemistry education.
The program focuses on increasing the knowledge base around two key elements of STEM preparation: (1) Developing effective methods to attract and retain STEM majors into secondary education; and (2) Incorporating key principals of research in education and learning sciences into STEM coursework to transform undergraduate teaching and learning.
The program, in collaboration with the University’s teachHOUSTON program, offers scholarships to junior and senior level physics and chemistry majors and minors, and post baccalaureate students seeking secondary teacher certification in physics or chemistry. The program also supports summer internships for a 6-week experience working with science master teachers in a summer camp for underserved students. This introduced the interns to teaching early in their academic careers and serves as a recruitment tool for the Noyce Scholarship Program. In addition, the program introduced a Physics by Inquiry course to engage scholars/students in interactive, inquiry-based teaching pedagogies for physics.
The University of Houston Robert Noyce Scholarship Program has awarded 29 scholarships to Physics/Chemistry majors/minors and 37 internships to freshman and sophomore NSM majors. To date, seventeen Noyce Scholars have graduated and are teaching or have received teaching positions in high need school districts; 100% completed their degrees within 6 years with a 4.5- year average, which compares to a 27.8% six-year completion rate in NSM. Ten graduates are certified to teach physics (for over a decade, UH had not graduated any students certified to teach physics); 5 graduates are having their induction experiences studied by the evaluator and twelve of the remaining Noyce Scholars are still in the tH program. Thirty-seven interns served as camp counselors in the existing ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Science Camp, a STEM camp for underserved middle school students. All but three interns are still enrolled in the tH program and seeking STEM teacher certification, and five interns have received Noyce scholarships. Overall, the combined retention rate of the Noyce Scholars and interns is 95% (60/63). Key components leading to this retention rate are the degree plans developed for physics/chemistry majors/minors which are designed for completion of the degree and teaching certification within 4 years, cohort building through tH and intense mentoring both during and after program completion. Also, as part of the Noyce program, a Physics By Inquiry course was developed, taught and implemented into the tH curriculum. The course focuses on increasing the knowledge base for teaching Physics through best practices in inquiry instruction. Due to the course’s success, a similar course was created for pre-service middle school teachers. The Noyce Program will be augmented by including a Noyce Internship Institute in order to prepare preservice teachers to work with middle school students in a STEM camp. Interns will participate in an interactive training that models best teaching practices. Topics will include the following: Working with Middle School Students; Professionalism; What is Facilitation; Classroom Management: Engineering Design; College and Career Readiness; Bullying; Technology; Brain Building Lesson Planning; and Growth and Fixed Mindset.
This program has provided content knowledgeable physics/chemistry teachers to 24 school districts in Houston. Key outcomes were shared with STEM and education faculty through conferences, in two book chapters, one published and one in press and two digital stories. Additionally, there is a journal article currently under review.