Teacher Education and Development

I have helped lead several teacher development initiatives including an NSF Noyce capacity building grant (co-PI on award #1852932), an NSF IUSE grant to develop coherence in the elementary teacher education curriculum (co-PI on award #1712493) and an (unfunded) Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) proposal (PI).  I also serve as the Chair of the Masters of Science for Secondary School Teachers (MSSST) program run by the CSME, which provides advanced content expertise for in-service science teachers.  Below, I focus on the Noyce capacity building project.

The NSF Noyce program supports talented STEM undergraduate majors and professionals to become effective K-12 STEM teachers and experienced, exemplary K-12 STEM teachers to become STEM master teachers in high-need school districts. It also supports research on the persistence, retention, and effectiveness of K-12 STEM teachers in high-need school districts.  This one-year Noyce capacity building project lays the foundation for increasing the number of qualified science teachers in Utah.  A central challenge is recruiting teachers who remain in the profession. One approach to enhancing teacher recruitment is to simplify the process for STEM undergraduates to obtain their teaching certification while pursuing STEM degrees. Likewise, ensuring that aspiring teachers receive adequate training and support is a primary means to improve teacher retention. Recognizing these opportunities, this project aims to develop a high-quality, accelerated 5-year BS/MEd program at the University of Utah that integrates learning of STEM content knowledge and STEM teaching methods, as well as pre-service training. This has the potential to prepare future STEM teachers who can meet the needs of diverse learners and contribute to national priorities for the STEM workforce.

Through this effort, the University of Utah is working closely with Salt Lake Community College, the source of almost 1,000 of the University's STEM undergraduates each year. These two key partners, together with Salt Lake City School District, master teachers, community leaders, and experts in high-need environments, form the "Utah Collaborative” whose goals are to: 1) conduct a detailed needs assessment that determines the number of teachers needed and also the attributes such as soft-skills and dispositions that enable teachers to thrive in high-need environments; 2) create a compact five-year degree program that results in a STEM bachelor of science degree and a Master of Education, with licensure; 3) develop a direct pathway from Salt Lake Community College to completion of the BS/MEd program at the University of Utah; 4) develop unique student teaching opportunities and internships that will allow participants to gain extensive exposure to teaching in high-need schools; 5) develop a network of school and community-based mentors to help support new and continuing teachers; and 6) develop a strategic dissemination and advising plan that will enable the recruitment and support of STEM students from different backgrounds.

Funding:  This one-year project was funded by a $117,266 NSF Noyce capacity building grant (award #1852932) with Holly Godsey as PI, and has provided the infrastructure for a Noyce Track 1 proposal now in preparation.

People and Roles:

  • Prof. Holly Godsey, Associate Professor (Lecturer) in Geology & Geophysics; Director of Student Success & Teacher Development in the CSME:  Holly has led all aspects of this project and is PI on the Noyce grant. 
  • Mary Burbank, Director of the Urban Institute for Teacher Education:  Mary has been a key partner and is co-PI on the Noyce grant. 
  • Prof. Lauren Barth-Cohen, Assistant Professor in Educational Psychology:  Lauren has helped streamline the licensure and education components of the curriculum and is co-PI on the Noyce grant.
  • Many additional collaborators from the College of Science and College of Education made important contributions. 
  • My role:  I helped write the grant, helped articulate new undergraduate science teaching degree curricula, and helped shepherd those through departmental and college reviews.  I am a co-PI on the Noyce grant.
© Jordan Gerton 2019