Enriching University of West Georgia Preservice Teachers Preparations through School and Community Partnerships

  • NSF Noyce Award # 1239957
  • First Name Dianne
  • Last Name Hoff
  • Email dhoff@westga.edu
  • Discipline Other:: STEM Education majors
  • Co-PI(s)

    Jill Drake
    , University of West Georgia
    , jdrake@westga.edu

  • Presenters

    Same as Above

Need

The University of West Georgia enrolls a large number of first-generation college students from rural, high-needs school districts in its UTeach and NOYCE programs. This project is important and meets the need high-needs, rural school districts as well as preservice teachers from those districts by the formation of innovative, mutually beneficial partnerships. This project partners with AT&T, Oglethrope Power, the West Georgia Youth Science & Technology Center, local school systems and as well as faculty from various colleges to sponsor STEM competitions, send STEM Education majors to conferences, offer special topics courses for college credit, provide free tutoring to STEM majors, provide upper-level elementary teachers with discipline-specific student teachers and university supervisors as well as many other initiatives in an effort to improve the preparation of these first-generation preservice teachers as well as improve STEM teaching in the surrounding school district.

Goals

The major goal of the UWG NOYCE project is to improve the quality of STEM Education in the West Georgia Region by certifying 32 high-quality STEM teachers over the course of five years.
In meeting this goal there are three subgoals:

1. Provide support to the novice teachers (former Noyce Scholars) during their first year of teaching.

2. Recruit 500 pre-service STEM teachers through merit-based award programs, innovative course offerings, and strong university-school partnerships that will spark interest in STEM Education and allow STEM majors to try teaching during their freshman or sophomore year.

3. Recruit and support 50 burgeoning STEM education students through offering stipends for internships opportunities with STEM Education professional.

Approach

The goals of this project are being met through many activities. A few of those include:

1) internships being awarded to students to work with STEM Education faculty who have been awarded NSF, Title II, and Georgia BOR grants;

2) STEM Education majors being placed in Professional Development Schools to work with 4th and 5th science and math teachers to teach lessons;

3) a special topics course entitled, ‘What do you want to know about teaching STEM?’ being created to spark interest in STEM Education;

4) STEM Education majors being offered free tutoring in Calculus II and Organic Chemistry in the 2016-17 academic year. These two courses were determined by the students and their advisors to be major barriers to the retention of STEM Education majors; and

5) Teachers candidates participating in a STEM Education Club (WeTEach) and assisting in planning and implementation of a STEM competition and volunteering for multiple science competitions held at the UWG.

Outcomes

Outcomes:

One year prior to the award, the number of STEM post-baccalaureates who completed the teacher preparation program and had prepared to become K-12 math and science teachers during the reporting period was seven. During the current award period, the number has risen to 19.

Broader Impacts

The broader impact of this project includes:
1)improved science and mathematics teaching in the upper elementary schools in the schools that partner with the University of West Georgia;

2) better extra-curricular STEM offerings for elementary, middle and high school students in the West Georgia region;

3) improved teacher preparation for STEM Education majors at UWG; and

4) more highly-qualified STEM Educators in the West Georgia region.

Our project efforts have been disseminated through the regional Noyce Conferences as well as the national NOYCE Summits. Also, both the College of Science and Mathematics as well as the College of Education are presented with project outcomes at faculty meetings and well as convocation.

URLs

https://www.westga.edu/academics/education/uteach/weteach-west.php https://www.westga.edu/academics/education/uteach/uteach-partners.php

Posted on July 6, 2017