Impacts and Media
Impacts of the STEM TRAIL Center
Collectively, the hundreds of collaborators and key staff from the STEM initiatives work to generate high-quality programs with significant and sustainable impact. Some of the existing key impacts are described below.
- Offering of the STEM Teacher Dual Pathways allows for pre-service teachers to gain further content knowledge, and further supports future Advanced Placement or Dual Enrollment teaching roles, and/or obtainment of a M.S. degree in discipline through necessary pre-requisite coursework. This pathway allows an undergraduate to obtain a degree in their STEM discipline along with an Education degree and/or endorsement. The University of Nebraska at Omaha has dual pathway options in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics. These include tuition and salary support for participants.
- The establishment of a master’s degree program for Computer Science Education. Through the College of Information, Science & Technology and the College of Education, graduates obtain an M.S. from the Computer Science Department and a Nebraska Supplemental Teaching Endorsement. Within the last four years, 35 teachers have been enrolled in this program.
- STEM Teacher Endorsements at all three levels (high school, middle school, and elementary school) have increased since 2010. In 2019-2020, increases are expected to continue as Noyce programs continue to grow.
- Increase in external funding for STEM teacher education: From the years 2013-2018, 32 federal, state, and private foundation grants totaling over $33 million. This funding allows STEM experiences such as research, teaching, and community service opportunities, which aids in student engagement in STEM disciplines.
- Retention in STEM programs such as the Noyce NebraskaSCIENCE and NE STEM 4U program have a 100% and 96%, respectively, retention rate to graduation. The retention rate of those groups is significantly higher than the national averages, which range from only 40% to 60%.
- Increased offerings of graduate work for STEM teachers collaboratively across STEM departments and colleges to help those teachers to become “highly qualified” in a particular discipline. There have been four different tracts in which this graduate work has grown, three out of the Teacher Education Department (TED), and one out of the Master of Arts for Teachers of Mathematics (MAT). These programs expand dual and AP offerings.
- The University of Nebraska Omaha has produced the most STEM teachers in area schools. Omaha Public Schools (OPS) has led in hiring, with 32 positions being filled by UNO within the last five years. In addition, elementary STEM specialists have increased, and 23 have graduated from 2013-2018.