- Year 2016
- NSF Noyce Award # 1035322
- First Name Beth
- Last Name Costner
- Discipline Mathematics
Kelly Costner, Winthrop University, firstname.lastname@example.org; Lisa Johnson, Winthrop University, email@example.com
Kelly Costner, Winthrop University, firstname.lastname@example.org
In order to meet the graduation and retention expectations seen in higher education today while maintaining a field-based, content-rich preparation program, Winthrop University explored ways to identify and support high achieving STEM majors through the STEM certification program. The evolution of undergraduate and graduate certification options has allowed the content and education faculty to explore avenues for development of teachers and content specialists.
** Winthrop University offers two options for individuals with undergraduate degrees to pursue initial certification in mathematics or science at the graduate level.
** The WISE program will offer four cohorts of support for students pursuing either option for certification in mathematics and science.
** Provide summer internships for freshman and sophomore mathematics and science majors that expose them to research and education in their content area
** Provide scholarship or stipends to undergraduates or graduate students enrolled in Winthrop’s mathematics or science education programs during their last two years
** Provide scholars with extra support: additional mentoring from WISE personnel during field experiences and first year of teaching; financially support state memberships in mathematics or science professional teacher organization and attendance at conferences
** Scholars give back to program by attending future internships and participating in recruitment activities
** Recruit qualified and diverse WISE Interns and Scholars.
** Retain STEM educators in high need schools in partner districts.
** Implement summer internship to highlight potential research and education related professions.
** Implement multiple options for STEM teacher certification.
** Maintain high expectations for mentor identification and selection.
** Design/implement advanced mentor training for STEM educators.
** Ensure WISE Scholars are effective classroom teachers.
** Improve student academic achievement.
This WISE Phase I scholarship program allowed for exploration of recruitment and retention methods, feasibility of various models for teacher certification, and process for mentoring new teachers. The use of a summer internship for first and second year students allowed for an introduction of both content research and teaching options. Already 33% of the students involved in the summer internship have or are pursuing teacher certification. We hope this percentage will continue to grow as some students are still in undergraduate programs and we are starting to see a small number who have previously completed return to begin MAT programs. The internship program was open to all STEM students and for many teaching was not part of their career path in these early years. We have seen evidence that the ear seed we planted is having an effect whether in the choice to pursue teacher education or to consider service projects that involve K-12 students. A fast-track post-bac program was implemented as the WISE grant was written and funded. Through exploration of candidate performance and program design, the program is again being imagined to better incorporate the clinical approach that services as the hallmark of Winthrop’s undergraduate program. WISE scholars and faculty have been instrumental in this process and this will be further explored through the Phase II award.
Graduated Scholars and past Interns are making an impact on the WU campus and beyond. Currently 33 scholars teach or will begin teaching in the Southeast and another 2 are poised to graduate with certification by spring 2017. Many of our Scholars are recognized for excellence, with two graduates selected for the highly competitive national Knowles Scholar program, and one Scholar among the first three teacher candidates selected to participate in an international teaching experience in China. Of the 39 Scholars supported by the program, 11 participated in the WISE Internship. Of the 92 individual students impacted by WISE, 43 have conducted additional STEM research beyond the WISE program. However, our most notable statistic may be the percentage of WISE interns who have maintained a STEM degree. Of the 64 interns, 92% completed a STEM degree or are still working toward a STEM degree at Winthrop or another institution. Winthrop is also an environment that encourages broad participation and embraces diversity. High impact programs such as WISE help to sustain interest and provide explorations that expand understanding of STEM beyond the classroom and lab, while supporting students who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM disciplines.
WISE will provide multiple program options for more STEM majors to graduate with certification while engaging in high quality teacher preparation to support broader impacts. South Carolina continues to need qualified STEM teachers at the secondary level. Data from the 2015 SC Teacher Demand Survey (http://cerra.org/media/documents/2016/1/2015_Supply_Demand_Report.pdf) continues to show that only Special Education has more unfilled positions at the high school level. There is a clear need for more STEM education students in SC and Winthrop has traditionally provided an innovative and data-driven teacher education program to address this need. Four years prior to the start of the WISE program, Winthrop averaged 6.25 STEM education completers. As a result of WISE, this average is currently 10.25. With one exception, all STEM education graduates secured immediate job placement in STEM classrooms with area districts asking for more.