- Year 2022
- NSF Noyce Award # 2001058
- First Name William
- Last Name Hunter
- Discipline N/A
Charles Granger, University of Missouri-St. Louis; Jessica Krim, Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville; Tuan Nguyen, Kansas State University
Nicolle von der Heyde, Illinois State University
One focus of the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program is to contribute to the development of a sustainable culture within institutions of higher education where undergraduate STEM majors, especially those of the highest achievement and ability, are encouraged and supported when they express a desire to pursue K-12 STEM teaching careers (NSF, 2017). One need recognized by NSF is the need for projects to share not only programmatic results, but also individual lessons and ideas between projects as the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship programs develop. The Noyce regional conferences bring novice teachers, experienced teachers, and principal investigator teams to collaborate and build a community of practice. Due to the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program’s expectation that Noyce Scholars and Fellows work in high-need districts, it is critical to support their development of Culturally Relevant Teaching (CRT) practices to aid in effective teaching and engaged student learning. The addition of off-site community visits during the annual Midwest Regional Robert Noyce conferences since 2017 has provided an authentic context through which to model CRT practices, in addition to helping attendees develop interdisciplinary STEM knowledge and engage with STEM practices.
What are the benefits of off-site community visits in the development of Noyce Conference attendees’ interdisciplinary STEM knowledge and skills and Culturally Relevant Teaching practices?
The Midwest regional Noyce conference meets annually to share best practices between Principal Investigators, Noyce Scholars, Fellows, and evaluators, both within and between institutions. The goal is to build on the body of work in the Midwest region and to provide a continuing opportunity for these individuals to develop high quality, evidence-based communities of practice in areas of high need. Pre- and post-conference surveys conducted by Barwegen Consulting Group, Inc. will inform how off-site community visits help develop pedagogical content knowledge and skill and help build communities of practice.
External evaluations from the four annual conferences that incorporated off-site community visits (2017-2019 and 2022) reflect the success of these experiences in helping meet the goals of the Midwest Regional Noyce conference. Recommendations from each evaluation suggest continuing to include off-site visits to help increase the personal and professional connections between Noyce projects in the Midwest region, along with increased practical knowledge on how to incorporate CRT into practice. The structure and implementation of the site-visit “curriculum” evolved over the years to reflect recommendations from the evaluation, showing how conference attendees’ feedback informed and improved the effectiveness of site-visits as a way to model CRT practices. The Midwest Regional Noyce Conference has become known for community-based site visits, causing many attendees to return annually over the years.
Despite a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, an unprecedented December tornado outbreak, and the ice storm of the century hitting squarely on the location of the 2022 annual conference, those who attended were able to visit 6 community locations in Cave City, Kentucky. The site visit curriculum included a post-visit discussion, which greatly improved the experience for many attendees. The 2023 Midwest conference will draw from the evaluation and continue to include post-visit discussions, while building on feedback from attendees. We anticipate the 2023 conference in Little Rock, Arkansas to include many repeat conference goers, many of whom look forward to visiting community-based sites while developing their STEM knowledge, pedagogical skills, and implementation of CRT practices.