- Year 2016
- NSF Noyce Award # 1540746
- First Name Gregory
- Last Name Phelan
- Discipline Chemistry
Angela Pagano, SUNY Cortland, firstname.lastname@example.org; Mary Gfeller, SUNY Cortland, email@example.com
The SUNY Cortland Noyce Project has enjoyed considerable success over the lifetime of the program. The program has developed strategies for recruiting students and programs to augment the rigorous training the Scholars receive on campus. It has also served to invigorate STEM as a field of study in the STEM departments at the college. For example, since the original Noyce funding was received the number of STEM majors has increased by 27% over a five-year period. In addition, ties between the School of Education and School of Arts and Sciences STEM faculty have strengthened through Noyce, leading to improved support structures for STEM students, their enrollment and retention. One major finding from our Phase I Noyce Scholarship was that our students were not receiving enough training and exposure to teaching children that are near or below the poverty threshold. This realization came from the work the project did with Master Teachers in the area and with informal interviews with the alumni of the program.
Our Phase II work emphasizes strategies that help Scholars improve learning outcomes for students living in poverty. Phase I: The SUNY Cortland Noyce Project Phase I grant encouraged 39 STEM students to teach in a high-need district for 106 combined years. Out of these 39 students, 25 will teach for at least two years (50 total years) and 14 will teach for four (56 total years). The majority of these students have stayed in New York State. Out of the 39 scholarship recipients, 24 are female and 15 are male.
Phase II: Our Phase II project will support 32 undergraduate and 10 graduate Scholars over a five-year period. We will continue to support our Scholars to build math and science content and pedagogy knowledge beyond their traditional coursework.
Our strategy is to apply an immersion model of field experiences, role playing, discussions, readings and writings to help our Scholars and participants in our proposed freshmen learning community to understand some of poverty’s complexities and the obstacles people living in poverty may face. During our Phase I grant, we realized that our Noyce Scholars responded best to a cafe-style approach rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. We will therefore continue to promote various types of activities and allow our Scholars to choose the ones that most suit them. One such activity is our Annual Noyce Workshop which serves to build a solid Noyce community and to strengthen the skill set of Noyce Scholars by addressing issues related to successfully teaching in a high-need environment. We will also continue to host State of Poverty Simulations, to which our Scholars have responded well. We have built a strong group of seasoned teachers to serve as Noyce Master Teachers who will continue to participate in workshops and provide support to our undergraduate Noyce Scholars.
We will examinine Scholar recruitment and certification, teaching efficacy, teaching effectiveness and retention among the Scholars in our project. We will follow both new and previously supported Scholars through their first years of teaching to identify which aspects of our Noyce Project are most significant in attracting, preparing and supporting participants for work in high-need schools. The main questions we will address in this study are: 1) What project activities do Scholars point to in helping them respond to the challenges of working in a high-need district? 2) To what degree did the freshman experience learning module and other tools help Scholars in their understanding of and interest in teaching in high-need schools? 3) Which project attributes were the most important determinants in the recruitment of Scholars? 4) What is the relationship between Scholars’ perceived experiences in the project and attrition or mobility of Scholars from high-need schools? 5) What is the relationship between level of participation in project activities and teacher self-efficacy as related to teacher effectiveness? We will also follow Noyce Scholars through their first years of teaching using focus groups, semi-structured interviews, observations of lessons, and surveys to examine the impact of project activities and supports on teacher self-efficacy, effectiveness, and their decisions to either remain in high-need schools beyond the obligation period of the scholarship, move to different schools, or leave teaching entirely.
By determining which project supports help Noyce Scholars mitigate challenges of working in high-need schools and the impact of the activities provided, we can encourage adoption of such best practices to more effectively support pre-service STEM teachers who plan to teach in high-need schools.