- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1556983
- First Name Lesa
- Last Name Beverly
- Discipline Math
Keith Hubbard, Stephen F. Austin State U., email@example.com; Jonathan Mitchell, Stephen F. Austin State U., firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan Mitchell, Stephen F. Austin State U., email@example.com
Secondary STEM teachers in Texas are in high demand for many reasons including the relatively high attrition rate (from certification programs pre-graduation) and low retention rate (post graduation). Students who have gone through the T4 program at Stephen F. Austin State University have shown remarkably improved numbers (including 100% certification). The faculty/student mentorships seem to play a critical role in the development and retention of students as they become STEM educators.
What are the effects of establishing student/faculty mentoring relationships throughout the student’s undergraduate experience? What are the most effective ways to implement such relationships? In what ways do these mentoring relationships continue post-graduation and into the professional experience of the educators?
The T4 program includes a number of supports and benefits to participants (scholars) in the program who are future secondary STEM teachers. One of those is the role mentor filled by faculty. That is, faculty in the field of study are paired up with scholars to check in on them each month or so during the school year as a mentor or adviser. Post graduation, teacher mentors (experienced yet former STEM teachers) regularly follow up with our scholars during the first two years of their professional career helping to bridge the transition between the student and professional world. We will outline a number of specific case studies that demonstrate the benefits of the mentorships described here.
Not only does mentorship play an important role for students who are deciding to enter the teacher education preparation program (EPP) or not, but it also turns out to be a huge support for the scholars already in our T4 program. A number of obstacles have occasionally made things difficult for our scholars to navigate successfully, yet it is the mentors’ ability to step in, advise, and even advocate for the scholar that has been so effective.
Mentoring relationships are not often easy, but they are vital for students in the EPP of their institution and beyond graduation at the professional level. Other Noyce programs would benefit from a strategic implementation of student/faculty mentorships during the participants’ time in the EPP and as a new teacher.