About STEM Teacher Education at Loyola

Afra Hersi, Ph.D., associate professor of Literacy Education and chair of the Teacher Education Department, and Tim Clark, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, received a $75,000 one-year grant from the National Science Foundation within the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program.

Their project, titled “Building Capacity for a STEM Learning Network to Prepare Highly Effective STEM Teachers for Teaching in High-Need Schools,” will provide the infrastructure for developing a pipeline of highly qualified teachers with strong backgrounds in STEM content, as well as training in effective culturally and linguistically responsive pedagogies.

With a long-term vision of closing the student-teacher diversity gap in the Baltimore region, the grant represents a collaborative effort among faculty in the Teacher Education Department, mathematics and science faculty at Loyola University Maryland and Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS). Loyola University Maryland School of Education faculty members and Stacy Williams, coordinator of clinical experiences, will also serve as senior personnel on the project. The team’s work began in July 2020.

About the Project

"This project aims to serve the national need for highly effective STEM K-12 teachers trained in culturally and linguistically responsive teaching approaches. To do so, it will help Loyola University Maryland build infrastructure for recruitment of undergraduates and professionals into its STEM education programs. The project will also lay the foundation for preparing these students to teach in high-need school districts in the Baltimore region. The project team intends to develop a learning community of pre-service and in-service teachers, as well as improve academic and professional advising and develop opportunities for early teaching exposure in diverse, high-need academic settings. The long-term goal is to develop and implement successful strategies to recruit and retain STEM majors and professionals in the teaching profession.

This Capacity Building project at Loyola University Maryland includes partnerships among faculty in its School of Education and National and Applied Sciences division, as well as representatives from Baltimore County Public Schools, a high-need local education agency. Project goals include the following: 1) develop, test, and collect baseline data about STEM-education recruitment and retention strategies; 2) provide faculty with professional development to test, disseminate, and integrate active learning innovations in STEM and STEM-education courses; and 3) Develop a STEM-Network collaborative to strengthen the relationship with Baltimore County Public schools and to explore strategies to close the student-teacher diversity gap. Findings and lessons learned from this work are intended to provide information to the larger community of small, primarily undergraduate, liberal arts institutions that train future STEM educators. In the long-term, this Capacity Building project has the potential to contribute to development of a diverse, experienced STEM teacher workforce, which in turn would support improvement of K-12 student academic achievement and STEM skills readiness for college success. This Capacity Building project is supported through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (Noyce). The 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 award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.”

*From NSF.gov