- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1340069
- First Name Dennis
- Last Name Sunal
- Discipline Chemistry, Math, Physics
James Harrell, University of Alabama, firstname.lastname@example.org; Kevin Shaughnessey, University of Alabama,email@example.com;
Jeremy Zelkowski, University of Alabama, firstname.lastname@example.org; Sharon Vincent, Shelton State Community College, email@example.com
Dennis Sunal, University of Alabama, firstname.lastname@example.org; Rachael Tawbush, University of Alabama, email@example.com
The demand for high school chemistry, mathematics, and physics teachers in the USA exceeds all other disciplines particularly in the southeast, with critical demand in Alabama. Although 33% of U.S. high school students take one year of physics only 19% do so in Alabama. Statistics indicate that from 1997-2009 the number of Alabama physics teachers certified in other science fields increased from 140 to 359, while those holding certification with a physics major increased from 26-31. Only 9% of high school physics teachers in Alabama have majors in physics degree compared with a national average of 33%. In Alabama, 25% of high schools do not teach physics. Only 17% of chemistry teachers have a major in chemistry. Chemistry and physics classes have been dropped by an increasing number of Alabama schools. Alabama?s need for secondary mathematics teachers is high. During 2010, 69 secondary math teaching positions (17%) remained unfilled, and almost all were from rural or central cities.
What type of program model demonstrates the use and upgrading of existing infrastructure to enhance research-based STEM teacher education program development? What factors are related to university teacher certification programs in recruiting, sustaining, and certifying new teachers in chemistry, physics, and math? Research Sub-questions: How successful were the variety of recruitment methods used? In what ways did a consortium of community colleges play a role in recruitment? What were success factors in recruiting from non-standard sources? What were the interns pre-post attitudes towards teaching as a career? What were the interns pre-post self-efficacy towards teaching? How successful were the variety of internship experiences? What were important factors?
UA-Noyce is designed to increase the number and diversity of certified teachers graduating from the University of Alabama. Research based features are 1) focus only on chemistry, physics, and mathematics majors, 2) early experience summer internships, 3) preservice teacher scholarships, 4) recruitment using a consortium of community colleges, and 5) mixed-methods multi-year recruitment study of the pipeline for preparing teachers in difficult to recruit majors.
What we learned: Satisfaction with the early summer internship was > 90% Internship had a positive impact on influencing STEM majors to consider and enter teaching in the target fields. Consortium of community colleges was highly effective in recruitment. Chemistry and physics majors in education certification program increased from 0-1 to 6-8 per year. A significant increase in math certification student ability to perform higher level math and be prepared to teach math AP courses. Most interns were recruited by university & community college faculty and virtual flyers. Many interns would not have participated due to financial reasons had the internship not provided a stipend payment.
UA Noyce has had broad impacts on the state, high needs school districts, collaboration between institutions, and within the university teacher preparation program with the aim of full participation of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM.