- Year 2016
- NSF Noyce Award # 1540805
- First Name Janelle
- Last Name Johnson
- Discipline STEM
Mark Koester, MSU Denver, firstname.lastname@example.org; Hsiu-Ping Liu, MSU Denver, email@example.com; Jeff Loats, MSU Denver, firstname.lastname@example.org; Philip Bernhardt, MSU Denver, email@example.com; Brooke Evans, MSU Denver, firstname.lastname@example.org
Janelle M. Johnson, Metropolitan State University of Denver, email@example.com
Recruiting and retaining math and science educators responsive to the needs of underrepresented communities is a critical need for the STEM pipeline. Urban STEM Teacher Capacity Building at Metropolitan State University of Denver (U-STEM) interdisciplinary Leadership Team has been working to design a program to address the challenge of recruiting and retaining math and science educators. The research-based program will prepare STEM majors with experiences, skills, and knowledge to become highly effective inquiry-based teachers committed to working in high-need urban schools. This project will benefit STEM majors; pre-service and in-service teachers and the students they work with; and partner districts’ hiring needs.
2015-2016 was the capacity building year for the U-STEM program. Research focused on listening to and synthesizing the perspectives of all program stakeholders. Data collected through focus groups, online surveys, and open houses was analyzed to: cultivate and strengthen district partnerships; examine curriculum and licensure programs; establish a Physics licensure program; and design recruitment and retention strategies within a responsive, innovative Noyce S & S program. The Leadership Team is integrating its analysis into a Track 1 S&S proposal.
The Leadership Team utilized an equity lens to investigate the research question: Taking into account its urban commuter setting and the needs of its first generation and underrepresented student population, what do MSU Denver Noyce Program stakeholders describe as key elements of a successful program design’ Stakeholder groups included STEM students, Physics faculty, School of Education administrators and faculty, a Noyce Learning Assistants Advisory Group, MSU Denver student support services administrators and staff, partner school and district STEM coordinators, partner community based organizations, and Community College of Denver STEM administrators and faculty.
Key findings included: the salient role of finances in future and current students of MSU Denver’s academic trajectories; the need for continuous attention to institutional navigation for first generation students; acknowledgement that communication between members of the partnership is fundamental to its success; increasing student-centered pedagogy; and schools’ desire for teachers to have some industry experience. Overall, research indicated the need for ongoing use of an equity framework for the program and its partnerships.
MSU Denver is recognized as the university in Colorado most serving underrepresented students’ educational needs. This research was utilized to design an program where equitable STEM classroom and clinical experiences combined with more comprehensive support services will benefit all STEM majors, leading to a pool of potential STEM teacher candidates that is larger and more representative of Denver’s population. Since MSU Denver has the second-largest teacher-preparation program in the state, and over 90% of students are commuters living in the metro Denver region, improvements made to MSU Denver classes for pre-service teachers have a high likelihood of impact on Denver area classrooms. This model will be shared widely with other urban institutions nationally.