Supported Site University of Arizona: Recruitment

Successes

  • Our introductory science teaching classes fill each semester, an indication that the CoS TPP is well regarded by the students in the College.
  • All advisors in the various departments in the College of Science are knowledgeable about the program, and refer any students interested in teaching to one of the program’s science education advisors.
  • The program nominates students for Outstanding Senior Awards and Galileo Scholarships, providing visibility within the College of Science.
  • The program is featured in our New Student Orientation sessions.
  • We have prepared 12 physics teachers over the last five years, seven of whom are women.

Challenges

  • Scholarship support for students to take the first course in our program was not successful in attracting additional students to the program. Over the ten semesters that we offered these scholarships, only one or two “new” students applied for scholarship support each semester.
  • We have “lost” about 30% of the students who completed one or two courses in the program. While many of those students self-select out of teaching for good reasons, we also know of students who would have been excellent teachers, but who chose not to continue in the program. For example, two prospective chemistry teachers and one prospective physics teacher left our program to take jobs at a local engineering company, where their starting salaries are double what they would have made as first-year teachers.

Sustainability/Institutional Buy-In

  • The CoS TPP is considered an integral part of the College of Science and of initial teacher preparation efforts on our campus.
  • The CoS TPP Program Director attends meetings with other Department Heads and Directors in the College of Science.
  • The program was spared in the latest round of state budget cuts.

Lessons Learned

  • Scholarship support to attract prospective teachers has not proven as effective as “word of mouth” advertising by other students and advisors.
  • It has been well worth our time, in terms of recruitment, to keep advisors in all the science departments informed about the program.

Activity Summary

  • Our most effective recruitment has been through word of mouth and visibility in the College of Science.
  • The Director of the College of Science Teacher Preparation Program (CoS TPP) sends an annual summary of program successes (see Appendix 1) to all of the department chairs in the college, and provides program updates to advisors in the College.
  • The Director also contacts students who dropped out of the course sequence to determine their intentions, maintains contacts with all Science Education majors, and proactively contacts students who indicate in interest in science teaching. Activities related to recruitment and advising occupy approximately 20% of the Director’s time. As a result of these recruiting efforts, we currently have 74 active students in the program.
  • Through the spring semester of 2007, we offered scholarship support to students in the CoS TPP with funds provided by a sales-tax-funded Workforce Development Initiative. We supported an average of six students each semester, with students early in the program receiving $750 and student teachers receiving $1875 in support.
  • We have decided to discontinue this scholarship support, since students can now apply for support through the Noyce Scholars Program, which provides $7500 of support for a year, in exchange for two years of teaching in a high-needs school. During the 2007-08 academic year, we will support 11 science majors who are preparing to be teachers.