National Science Foundation Awards $1 Million to Two Pacific Professors Studying Retention of STEM Teachers in Oregon
Pacific University College of Education Professor Kevin Carr and College of Arts & Sciences Professor Kevin Johnson were awarded approximately $1 million over five years by the National Science Foundation for their research into the effectiveness and retention of K-12 science and mathematics teachers in Oregon.
Carr, the principal investigator, and Johnson, the co-principal investigator, learned in March that the National Science Foundation would fund their project, Understanding the Career Trajectories, Effectiveness, and Retention of Noyce Scholars in High-Need Schools in Oregon, with a grant of $999,370.
The project also involves researchers from the University of Oregon, the University of Portland and regional nonprofit Education Northwest. It will examine 100 science and mathematics teachers in high-needs Oregon schools to provide insight into, as the researchers say, “What keeps STEM teachers going?”
Carr said it’s an important question.
"STEM education is a basic human right,” he said in an email. “Since 2010, Pacific has been awarded over $3 million in NSF Noyce grant support to recruit and train new STEM teachers — Pacific Noyce Scholars — to support the success of students whose communities are underrepresented in STEM.
“We are excited to be supported by NSF to amplify and share the voices of our most successful Pacific Noyce Scholar alumni. We seek to better understand their career trajectories, and, ultimately, let them answer the question ‘What Keeps You Going as a STEM Teacher?’ We hope to make a groundbreaking impact on our understanding of what makes a great STEM teacher."
Researchers will survey the 100 teachers, then conduct extensive interviews with 40 of them, then zero in on 18 for a focused, year-long, professional development track.
The Noyce program supports the development of STEM teachers, especially in high-needs schools.
(Photos: Professors Kevin Carr, top, and Kevin Johnson)