- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1540690
- First Name Beth
- Last Name Costner
- Discipline Biology, Chemistry, Math
Cassandra Bell, Winthrop, firstname.lastname@example.org; Kelly Costner, Winthrop, email@example.com; Trent Kull, Winthrop, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cassandra Bell, Winthrop, email@example.com; Bailee Conner, Winthrop, firstname.lastname@example.org
With teacher shortages growing in all areas and expanding in STEM field, identifying and supporting potential STEM students for the teaching profession is crucial. The WISE program uses a multifaceted process to identify potential students through early engagement; provide professional development and network building during the preparation program; and support additional mentoring, professional learning, and networking beyond graduation.
How do the use of networks and professional development help retain teachers in STEM fields?
Through a series of professional development and team building sessions involving interns (potential scholars), teacher candidates (current scholars), and practicing teachers (graduated scholars) the project staff are working to supplement teacher education training. A dedicated mentor is also being used to help with the practical transition issues for early career teachers. Finally, our network now includes mentor teachers who were once interns and scholars to close the loop on support and mentoring.
Since the inception of the project we have produced 50 classroom teachers and supported 100 Interns. WISE currently has 11 scholars that are in the pipe line certification between 2020 and 2021. Further of the interns supported, 21% were selected as scholars and are either finishing certification programs or teaching the region while another 6% are still pursuing teacher education or have taught in STEM classrooms after graduation. Further, 92% of the scholars that completed the program are still teaching in STEM classroom in the United States with the majority on the Southern States of North and South Carolina.
WISE provides multiple options for STEM majors to graduate with certification while engaging in high quality teacher preparation to support broader impacts. The current project is magnifying the strengths of our original program with a redesigned teacher education track, increased opportunities for interactions, and the collection and examination of longitudinal data on graduates. South Carolina continues to need qualified STEM teachers at the secondary level. For the 2018-2019 academic year nearly 527 new mathematics and science teachers were hired in the state. Over 70 STEM positions were reported as vacant as of the start of the academic year (J. Garrett, https://www.cerra.org/supply-and-demand.html). The WISE program as a whole works to recruit, prepare, and retain STEM teachers teachers to help address the need for teachers. There is a clear need for more STEM education students in SC and Winthrop has traditionally provided an innovative, data-driven program to address this need.