Supported Site California State University, San Marcos: Recruitment

Successes

  • A well-attended recruiting night was held each semester on the CSUSM campus. At these events, current LAs are asked to bring a potential new LA. We recognize the LAs' work and the importance of teaching. Current LAs receive information about careers in teaching, while potential LAs receive information about the LA program.
  • We have sustained the LA program at CSUSM and Palomar, and leveraged existing outreach efforts to promote students' interest in teaching (described in Early Teaching Experience section).
  • Project efforts are dovetailed with an NSF-funded CSUSM Noyce Scholarship program, which serves as a high-prestige, high-incentive recruiting tool.
  • By coordinating affiliated programs, we have multiple opportunities to engage students with varied levels of commitment and involvement. Students can progressively participate in outreach activities, the Learning Assistants program, and ultimately as Noyce Scholars.
  • Information on careers in teaching is integrated into general STEM career information.

Challenges

  • Based on focus groups (conducted through another project), Palomar math and science students have limited interest in teaching careers. This makes activities such as the LA program all the more important in order to encourage these students to consider teaching as a career option.
  • To be certified, students must complete a one-year post-baccalaureate program that requires a complex application and admission process. This can be an additional hurdle to physics majors becoming credential candidates. We created a flow chart showing the required steps.

Sustainability

  • CSUSM has an NSF-funded STEP project with a focus on recruiting STEM students. CSUSM STEP project PI Dr. Charles De Leone has agreed to "mainstream recruiting for careers in STEM teaching; in other words, while recruiting students for STEM disciplines, include teaching careers as one of many career options available with a STEM degree." The STEP project is a five-year project; sustainability is addressed through creation of print resources, transfer agreements, and capacity building with staff/administrators that will persist after the funding period.

Lessons Learned

  • Communication and coordination between related projects can create a powerful network of programs; by providing a unifying vision, a smaller scale project (such as a Targeted Site) can have greater impact.
  • Students need additional information on the admissions process to the credential program and the steps to becoming a teacher.

Activities

  • Recruiting nights have been held each fall and spring. These events included a description of the LA program, a discussion of the need for math and science teachers, and statements from current and former LAs. Typically 30-50 CSUSM and Palomar math and science students attend these sessions.
  • Focus groups at CSUSM and Palomar (October 2011) were conducted as part of the CSUSM STEP project in coordination with the PhysTEC project. Students' interest in careers in teaching was one topic of the focus groups.
  • A recruiting poster has been developed.
  • CSUSM Physics majors are surveyed annually on their career interests, including careers in teaching. Students reporting interest in teaching have been contacted with further information.
  • A webpage was created that described all recruiting activities (LA program, Noyce program, outreach programs), info on careers in teaching, and a roadmap to a teaching credential.