With funding from the National Science Foundation's Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, this project will address the Nation's growing need to recruit and prepare secondary STEM teachers, but also to provide new teachers with the support that they need to ensure that they remain in the teaching profession. This capacity building project from Spelman College will address the challenges involved in recruiting STEM students into teacher preparation programs. Spelman College has an excellent Secondary STEM Teacher Preparation program; however, no Spelman students, only students from other institutions, have enrolled in that program. In response to the need for effective recruiting, this project will create an avenue for incoming freshman and rising sophomores at Spelman College to follow a recruitment pathway that exposes interested students to STEM education.
The project PI team will create an "Exposure, Exploration, Engagement, and Educator-preparation" pathway for recruiting STEM majors into careers in secondary STEM teaching. Each step of the capacity building pathway reinforces students' understanding of the intricacies involved in becoming a STEM educator. The elements of the program have all been demonstrated to be effective mechanisms for the recruitment of students into teaching. The first element is exposure to STEM teaching through informational sessions and workshops describing STEM education and research in STEM education. Students then explore STEM teaching through positions as undergraduate teaching assistants (UTAs). Finally they are engaged in STEM education and research through a STEM Undergraduate Research Educator (SURE) summer program. This recruitment pathway leads the students into the culmination of the process, formal educator-preparation through the Spelman secondary education program. The formal evaluation plan of the project is providing knowledge that will inform successful recruitment of STEM students into STEM teaching, particularly the recruitment of women and minority students, into programs across the nation. One indicator regarding the success of this pipeline will be viewed through the number of students enrolling in Spelman's Orientation to Education course, a mandatory class needed before a student can apply to the teacher certification program.