Academic journal article Community College Review

The Impact of a Grant-Funded Project on Selected Community College Teacher Education Programs

Academic journal article Community College Review

The Impact of a Grant-Funded Project on Selected Community College Teacher Education Programs

Article excerpt

Recent concern about the quality and supply of teachers in mathematics and science has prompted a rethinking of how teachers in these content areas are recruited and prepared. This article describes a project, funded by the National Science Foundation and undertaken by Phi Theta Kappa, to strengthen the mathematics, science, and technology components of 36 community college teacher education programs. The impact of the program is examined on the basis of a survey of representatives from those colleges and the 4-year institutions that partnered with them. The article also examines the characteristics of 7 community colleges that emerged as the winners of a national competition on science and mathematics teacher education that was conducted as part of the project.

Keywords: community college teacher education programs; teacher education articulation; National Science Foundation grant impacts, best practices-teacher education

**********

The community college role in teacher education is not new. Prior to World War II, teacher education was a primary mission of many junior colleges (Hutcheson, 2002). When the requirement for teacher certification increased to a bachelor's degree, community colleges became primarily a vehicle to help prepare teacher education students through the transfer process. This traditional role has now been extended to include the development of statewide associate of arts in teaching degrees, the delivery of alternative teacher certification programs for college graduates, the creation of community college baccalaureate degrees in teacher education, and the provision of in-service training by community colleges for the local teaching corps. These activities have sparked a renewed interest in community college efforts to supply an increasing number of the teachers needed to staff classrooms in the United States (Townsend & Ignash, 2003).

In March 1998, the National Science Foundation (NSF) highlighted the important role that community colleges can and should play in preparing K-12 teachers by sponsoring a workshop to explore issues related to the education of science, mathematics, and technology teachers. This resulted in the NSF's 1998 publication, Investing in Tomorrow's Teachers: The Integral Role of Two-Year Colleges in the Science and Mathematics Preparation of Prospective Teachers. As a consequence, many community colleges across the country decided to expand and promote the science and mathematics courses offered in their teacher education programs for current and future K-12 teachers.

The NSF continued its work with community colleges in 2001 by awarding Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the International Honor Society of the Two-Year College, in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges, funding for a project called Preparing Tomorrow's Science and Mathematics Teachers: The Community College Response. As "the largest honor society in American higher education with more than 2 million members and 1,200 chapters" (PTK, n.d.), PTK was well positioned to run a national project whose purpose was to expand and enhance community college teacher preparation programs for future K-12 science, mathematics, and technology teachers. This article describes the project, examines the characteristics of seven community colleges that emerged as the winners of a national competition on science and mathematics teacher education that was conducted as part of the project, and concludes with a discussion of the project's impact as determined by Web-based surveys sent to the participating 2-year and 4-year colleges.

The NSF-PTK Project

The project, undertaken from 2001 to 2005, consisted of two rounds of funding. In the first round, seven mentor teams worked with 18 competitively selected community colleges that were partnered with one or more 4-year schools. In the second round, PTK mentors worked with an additional 18 community colleges, which were also competitively selected. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.