- Year 2016
- NSF Noyce Award # 1035333
- First Name Robert
- Last Name Reinsvold
- Discipline Mathematics, Science
Valerie Middleton, University of Northern Colorado, Valerie.firstname.lastname@example.org; Lori Reinsvold, University of Northern Colorado, email@example.com
LoriAnn Reinsvold, University of Northern Colorado, firstname.lastname@example.org
Colorado and the nation has a shortage of highly qualified science and mathematics teachers. This is especially evident in rural schools where recruitment and retention are significant challenges.
The Noyce Scholarship Program of the University of Northern Colorado began in September 2010 (NSF Grant #1035333). The overall goal of our project was to increase the number of science and math teachers graduating and then teaching in high-need schools. To implement the program, UNCO partnered with 25 school districts, 19 of these are in rural communities.
Our approach was a combination of opportunities, incentives, and support of new teachers during their teacher preparation process, through graduation, and into their induction years.
We awarded scholarships to 32 Noyce Scholars and 9 Noyce Post Bacs (11 more than our proposed combined target of 30). We also supported 52 Noyce Interns to receive early educational experiences with the aim of convincing them to pursue careers in STEM teaching.
The major outcomes are the 38 highly qualified science and mathematics teachers now teaching in high need schools in Colorado and in other states. Only 3 scholarship recipients failed to meet their teaching obligations in high need schools.
The practices that made the most difference were: 1) the scholarships and internships helped potential teachers to commit to teaching; 2) the support of Noyce Teachers during their induction year was critical; 3) creating a network for STEM teachers and teacher candidates increased support from their peers; 4) the lessons learned from the Noyce Program influenced the redesign of our teacher preparation program by increasing early educational experiences; and 5) the Noyce Program increased the awareness of the need for science and math teachers and established it as a priority for support from our dean, provost, and university president.
Our program of Northern Colorado built on the successful teacher preparation program at UNCO to produce more highly qualified science and math teachers. The project also provided insight in how to increase recruitment and retention of STEM majors who also consider teaching as a profession and insight on the impact of early support by mentoring and professional development seminars on teacher retention. In addition, the program addressed many of the obstacles encountered by rural school districts, such as social and geographic isolation; high percentage of students of minority cultures or low socio-economic status; and the necessity for teaching multiple subjects.
Three additional projects developed as a direct result of the activities of our Noyce Program. First, a new student organization was created to support future science teachers, the Science Educators Alliance (SEA). Second, we hosted the three annual Colorado STEM Teacher Preparation Symposiums to convene representatives from all of the major teacher prep programs and state agencies to develop a collective vision of STEM teacher preparation. Finally, the University of Northern Colorado and Colorado School of Mines formed a partnership to provide a path for Mines students of applied sciences, math, and engineering to eventually secure a teaching license in a new collaborative program between the two campuses (=TEAM-UP).