- Year 2018
- NSF Noyce Award # 1240083
- First Name Donna
- Last Name Stokes
- Discipline Physics
Paige K. Evans, Simon Bott and Cheryl Craig
Donna W. Stokes, University of Houston, firstname.lastname@example.org
; Paige K. Evans, University of Houston, email@example.com
The Robert Noyce Scholarship Program at the University of Houston addresses the recruitment, preparation and retention of science majors for secondary education in physics and chemistry through Noyce scholarships and summer internships. The program builds on the foundation of the existing teachHOUSTON program which is a collaboration between the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the College of Education and local School Districts to train K-12 teachers to teach STEM subjects. This program will provide content knowledgeable physics/chemistry teachers to school districts in the Houston area since many teachers assigned to these courses are often unqualified (do not hold a major or minor in the subject) in these areas.
The goals of the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program at the University of Houston is to offer 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 Scholarship Program will provides financial support to allow pre-service teachers to focus on academics to become better prepared to teach STEM content. A Science as Inquiry course, developed for the program, focusses on preparing scholars to teach physics using research based inquiry style teaching techniques. Another program goal is to offer a summer internship program which supports lower division undergraduate summer internships for a 6-week experience working with science master teachers in Summer Science Camps. The summer internship program introduces students to teaching early on in their academic careers and serves as a recruitment tool where the interns are recruited as candidates for the Noyce Scholarship Program. Both programs are designed to promote and retain physics and chemistry majors to the teaching profession.
It is important for teacher education programs to provide educational experiences that create opportunities for preservice teachers to build teaching and professional skills. This program model offers a ‘Physics As Inquiry’ course to engage scholars/interns in interactive, inquiry-based teaching pedagogies for physics which they can use in their future courses. It also offers professional development opportunities through a Noyce Summer Internship Institute which provides content specific interactive professional development sessions covering topics such as: Professionalism; What is Facilitation; Classroom Management; and Growth and Fixed Mindset. Through these experiences, preservice teachers interact with master teachers, who guide them through curriculum development and help to motivate and strengthen self-efficacy early in their career.
To date, thirty Noyce Scholars have graduated; twenty-three are teaching in high need school districts; Eleven graduates are certified to teach physics. Sixty interns have served as camp counselors and all but four of the interns are still enrolled in the program. The combined retention rate of the scholars and interns is 93%. 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. The Physics by Inquiry course has enrolled 115 students over five semesters and has led to 27 students pursuing the Science Composite Certificate. Due to the course’s success, a similar course was created for pre-service middle school teachers and a Biology/Biochemistry By Inquiry course has been developed.
This program has provided content knowledgeable physics/chemistry teachers to 24 school districts in Houston. The University of Houston has produced eleven teachers certified to teach physics whereas prior to incorporation of this program, the university had not graduated any students certified to teach physics in over a decade. These outcomes have been disseminated through national and international publications and conference presentations, book chapters and digital stories.