- Year 2022
- NSF Noyce Award # 1660699
- First Name Tony
- Last Name Thompson
- Discipline Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Mathematics
Charity Cayton, Heather Vance-Chalcraft, & Elizabeth Doster
Tony Thompson & Charity Cayton, East Carolina University
East Carolina University (ECU) is currently finishing its 2nd Noyce Scholars program (2017 – 2022). The purpose of this research was to investigate teachers’ perceptions of their experiences as Scholars during this time; this information is being used for program improvement and to inform our proposal for a 3rd Noyce Scholars Grant to be submitted in August 2022. Other programs can benefit from learning about our experiences (both following and researching prior graduates and using these results for program improvement). There are few publications that document teachers’ perceptions of their experiences as Noyce Scholars and how this information can be used for future grants and program improvement.
What are East Carolina University graduates’ perspectives of their experiences as Noyce Scholars?
The research literature was used to investigate characteristics of Noyce Scholarship Programs and similar scholarship / loan forgiveness programs that have both positively and negatively impacted teacher recruitment and commitment in high needs schools in STEM. Key themes from this review of literature include:•There is an overwhelming need for candidates to have support before, during, and after the teacher preparation program (mentoring / induction)•Professional development and training opportunities, specific to teaching in high needs schools, played a major role in commitment•There are mixed results on whether scholarships/loan forgiveness programs positively affect commitment to teaching in high needs schools•Retention rates may be boosted when candidates know, beforehand, the positive benefits of the teaching professionThe review of literature guided the researchers design of a survey consisting of six demographic questions, 19 Likert Scale items (Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree), and 8 open response questions. The online survey was sent in Spring 2021 to all 18 ECU Noyce Scholars who graduated during our 2nd Noyce grant; Responses were anonymous; 17 of 18 scholars responded (8 Math / 9 Science; 7 Undergraduate / 10 Graduate). The survey items were analyzed using descriptive statistics (Likert Items) with Open-Ended items analyzed for common themes.
Regarding teachers’ perceptions of their experiences as Noyce Scholars:•94% agreed having a double-major made them better teachers•50% of undergraduates agreed they would not have completed a double major without a Noyce scholarship•53% agreed being a Noyce Scholar helped them take on leadership roles at their school Regarding the impact of being a Noyce Scholar on their career paths:•82% agreed they would be teachers without Noyce funding•88% agreed they would teach at the same school even if they were not Noyce Scholars •82% agreed they wanted to continue teaching after their Noyce obligations were completeConcerns expressed by Noyce Scholars included:•Only 59% agreed that being a Noyce Scholar was an important part of their identity as a professional educator•Only 41% agreed that the induction provided by Noyce Faculty after graduation enhanced their professional growth.Responses between math and science Noyce Scholars differed on several survey items; math majors were more likely to agree that:•Being a Noyce Scholar was an important part of their identify as a teacher (75% vs. 44%)•Monthly seminars enhanced their professional growth (100% vs. 89%)•They received adequate support for completing the edTPA (100% vs. 33%)•Induction support after graduation enhanced their professional growth (63% vs. 25%)•Being a Noyce Scholar helped them take-on leadership positions (63% vs. 44%)A follow-up study with other ECU Noyce graduates
Our research provided insights into teachers’ perceptions of their experiences as Noyce Scholars; these findings are being used for program improvement and to inform our proposal for a 3rd Noyce Scholars Program at ECU (to be submitted in August 2022). Examples include increased mentoring and support after graduation (i.e., the pandemic limited previous Face-to-Face mentoring / induction), more interaction and collaboration with previous ECU Noyce Scholars (e.g., prior scholars serving as mentors); more interaction with Noyce Scholars from other universities, increased stakeholder participation in our Noyce Program (e.g., Community Colleges), and better preparation for scholars to teach in rural schools (we’re collaborating with ECU’s Rural Education Institute). Although this research focused on ECU graduates, other universities can learn from our experiences and insights to design their own Noyce Scholars programs. By 2023, we will have 30 graduates from our 2nd Noyce Scholars Program. We will continue to survey the remaining graduates (for this research, there were 18 graduates). We will investigate how the responses of the other 12 graduates corresponds to the original 18 who were surveyed for this research, and we hope to share findings at future Noyce Summits and in other conference and journal publications.