red Supported Site University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Recruitment

Successes

  • We enrolled 9 students in the physics pedagogy course in Spring 2011. One of them was a physics graduate student who has decided to pursue the MAT degree, and was selected as our first Noyce Scholar. He is expected to complete the MAT in May 2012. One of the undergraduates is planning to apply to the UNC-BEST program this fall. Another undergraduate - who was a senior - applied to Teach for America, but was not accepted from the final round of interviews. He is currently pursuing alternative teaching options.
  • We have received 31 applications to the UNC-BEST program for AY2010/11 and accepted 29 of them. Of these, 20 are biology majors, 2 are mathematics majors, 2 are chemistry majors, 2 are physics majors and 1 is a geological sciences major.
  • We enrolled 6 students in the third offering of our physics pedagogy course. Of these, two are already accepted into the UNC-BEST program and one is in the process of applying. One student was an environmental studies major with a physics minor and was, thus, ineligible for the program. However, he has been bitten by the "teaching bug" and is actively looking at MAT programs and applying for positions which do not require licensure.
  • Catherine Scott developed two sets of recruiting brochures - one for current UNC students and one for students considering applying to UNC-CH.

Challenges

  • We need to increase our efforts at recruiting among students in the first two years of college, as well as high school students who wish to attend UNC. We have instituted a program of visits to high school classrooms to help with the latter, and are contemplating accomplishing the former by expanding the department's existing outreach efforts as a form of early teaching experience.
  • We do not yet have enough visibility in the state to attract to UNC significant numbers of students who aspire to be science teachers.
  • Because students typically take the pedagogy course in the junior or senior year, word-of-mouth is not very effective for recruiting.

Sustainability/Institutional Buy-In

  • We have alerted the Provost to the fact that additional funding for the program (to extend the contracts of the Education Specialists in the various departments) will be needed beginning in academic year 2013/14, and so a decision to provide funding must be made by summer 2012. He is quite supportive of the program, but is unable to make any commitments at this time due to the parlous state of the University's budget.
  • We need to do more coordinated recruiting with the other departments in UNC-BEST to tap the pool of science-minded students who have not yet chosen a major (especially freshmen).
  • We need to continue to protect the program from state budget cuts. The Provost (formerly the Interim Provost) is very supportive. He approved funding for the Physics Education Specalist and Biology Education Specalist postions for another four years. The Chancellor is a big fan of the program.

Lessons Learned

  • Educating the majors' advisors in the department about the value of the program continues to be an important component of effective recruiting. This is even more true of the College advisors, who turn over more frequently.
  • We need to continue to recruit aggressively, since the program is not yet self-sustaining in its enrollment.

Activity Summary

  • The Undergraduate Recruiting Committee has instituted a program of visits to high school classrooms, in which a faculty member (and, when possible, a physics major) discuss a current physics research topic as well as careers in physics-including high school physics teaching. A question-and-answer session about majoring in physics follows, and "marketing" materials developed in collaboration with John Rice are distributed.
  • Our PER specialist visited every introductory physics class (first three semesters of the sequence) to talk about the program. Since students in the algebra-based courses are mostly majoring in sciences that participate in UNC-BEST, she did not confine herself to only classes taken by physics majors and minors.
  • We put up many attractive and eye-catching posters all over the building, dorms, Academic Advising, and other locations.
  • We continued to remind all of the majors' advisors in the department and all of the people in Academic Advising about the program and urged them to point students toward it.

We put up posters about the Noyce Scholarships and informed the majors' advisors about them. We also informed the Director of the MAT program, and urged him to bring the opportunity to the attention of eligible students.