- Year 2017
- NSF Noyce Award # 1660713
- First Name John
- Last Name Stewart
- Discipline Physics
Gay Stewart, West Virginia University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthew Campbell, West Virginia University, email@example.com
Nancy Spillane, West Virginia University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeffrey Carver, West Virginia University, Jeffrey.Carver@mail.wvu.edu
John Stewart, West Virginia University, email@example.com
West Virginia, one of the poorest states in the nation, is undergoing economic collapse as its primary industry, coal mining, is devastated by changes in the energy industry. New STEM jobs are needed to replace those lost. With one of the lowest percentages of citizens with bachelor’s degrees in the nation, the intellectual infrastructure to provide students the high school education that provides entry into STEM disciplines is often lacking. WVUteach, which will grow to the full capacity possible within a large land-grant university (29,000 students) with the support of WVUteach-Noyce, can provide the highly trained STEM teachers needed to allow West Virginia’s students to succeed. These new teachers will receive a newly developed training in teaching in the high-need environment found in Appalachian schools. The impact of this training should encourage more West Virginians to attend college and enter STEM careers. Once proven and refined at WVU, this training will be broadly disseminated.
This project is a partnership between West Virginia University (WVU), and Doddridge and Marion County School Districts. Both districts have high levels of poverty, causing disparity in graduation rates. This proposal will support at least 25 additional new high school teachers with $14,500 scholarships annually, up to two years. It leverages the internal expertise in the WVU Center for Excellence in STEM Education, coupled with the implementation of a UTeach replication site (WVUteach), to fulfill an institutional commitment to increase the number of STEM teachers produced both in the short and long term. WVUteach-Noyce implements a promising strategy for preparing teachers to serve in high-need classrooms and will aid in its dissemination. The project supports the rapid expansion of WVU’s new four-year STEM teacher preparation program, WVUteach, by providing scholarships to STEM majors to go into teaching while also implementing a partnership to provide relevant cultural competence, pedagogical knowledge and disposition to our students and the mentor teachers that will support them as they learn to teach in high-need Appalachian schools. Both lead to sustainable outcomes that will be addressed in this proposal.
This program will adapt a promising strategy for preparing students to teach in the high-need environment to the UTeach model. This preparation helps mentor teachers and students to recognize their own cultural biases and to recognize how these biases are inadvertently communicated to their students. Once this negative communication is identified and eliminated, it can be replaced with positive messages that encourage underrepresented students to pursue academically challenging coursework. This preparation has been successfully tested in urban environments. It will be integrated into the UTeach curriculum model and the effectiveness of the resulting program measured. If efficacious, the project team’s close connections with UTeach leadership will allow dissemination throughout the 44 UTeach universities which currently enroll over 6,000 (and growing) future STEM teachers.
Just funded, so nothing yet.
WVUteach is supported by a leadership team with a proven record of successful recruitment and retention of STEM teacher candidates, particularly in the high shortage areas of physics and chemistry. In its second year, WVUteach is exceeding its recruitment targets; its introduction to teaching class is currently oversubscribed with 76 students exploring STEM teaching. However, attrition due to the financial challenges all too common to WV students is a barrier to program growth. Financial challenges are often encountered because WV students do not receive adequate preparation at the high school level to enter calculus their freshman year. This extends their time to degree which causes them to exhaust their four-year scholarships before graduation. WVUteach-Noyce will provide a financial solution for some students in the short term while WVUteach provides the long-term solution of a better trained STEM teacher workforce.