NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

Student Success Update

teachHOUSTON Professional Development for In-Service Teachers

The teachHOUSTON undergraduate STEM teacher preparation program hosted a professional development session for 29 in-service STEM teachers in February. This event was part of a $2.8 million NSF grant, LEAD Houston (Leadership through Equity and Advocacy Development), that addresses the acute shortage of secondary STEM teachers in Greater Houston and transforms the instruction of underrepresented students of color in STEM classrooms.

The LEAD Houston professional development included culturally responsive pedagogy in STEM, pedagogical content knowledge, and instructional coaching in STEM. The grant team is led by principal investigator Paige Evans. Other members of the grant team are Mariam Manuel, Leah McAlister-Shields, and Jennifer Chauvot. Through this professional development, the in-service teachers gained knowledge on how to present STEM content in ways to engage and better prepare all student learners who may be attending UH in the future.

Success in STEM Course Continues to Offer Support to NSM FTIC Students

The Office of First Year Programs (OFYP) offers the Success in STEM Course for NSM freshmen who are on academic warning after their first semester at UH. With the interim grade policy in place, there were no FTIC students placed on academic warning after the Fall 2020 semester.

However, nearly 120 students were identified as being at-risk as they had S or NCR grades in their math and science courses as well as in other courses. These students, were contacted by the OFYP staff and encouraged to enroll in the course, which aims to help them get back on track academically, and to self-reflect on what they need to do to be successful in future semesters as the interim grade policy will not be in place.

Only 10% of the students identified enrolled in the course. The students contacted gave numerous factors for their performance, and top reasons for not enrolling in the course where financial concerns and stress from the pandemic. To ensure that the students not enrolling in the course are monitored, these students were tagged as NSM Alert students in the Navigate system so that NSM advisors could identify them and offer them advice/guidance on how they should proceed with their course selection in upcoming semesters.

Undergraduate Advising Center (UAC) Hosts Annual Graduation Check Event

The UAC hosted a Virtual Grad Check Event which allowed NSM students who anticipated graduating in Spring 2021 to have an NSM advisor review their record to ensure they were on track for graduation. Over 400 students put in a grad check request and received virtual advising from the UAC staff. This is twice as many students as participated in the event in February 2019. Students qualifying for graduation were encouraged to submit their applications for graduation.

NSM Student Success Team Internship Program

The NSM Student Success Team welcomed College of Education’s Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies master’s student Megan Hill on board as an intern for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. Megan is a UH NSM biology alumni and a veteran of several of the NSM student success initiatives. As an undergraduate, she served as a peer facilitator for the Introductory Biology courses and was a member of the Scholar Enrichment Program where she began her UH career as a participant in the NSM Summer Bridge Program.

Megan offers the perspective of a student participant and student leader as she joins the Student Success Team to learn about the administrative/management aspects of the program which will empower her as she moves through her master’s degree program at UH. In the Fall, she worked with the director of the Office of First Year Programs, Michelle Nodskov, on coordination and planning for the NSM Student Leadership Programs. This semester, she is working with the director of the Scholar Enrichment Program, Eduardo Cerna, and NSM’s director of planning and assessment, Ashley Askew, to learn about the processes and procedures involved with class scheduling, day-to-day oversight, grant proposal writing, and recruiting and assessment for student success programs. The Student Success Team is delighted to have Megan join us and looks forward to working with the College of Education to provide future internship opportunities for graduate students interested in working to improve student success in STEM higher education programs.

2021 TC Energy Summer Scholars Academy

Planning for the 2021 TC Energy Summer Scholars Academy has begun. Invitations were sent out to more than 1,400 eligible students in NSM and Engineering. Over 50 students have attended the first two (out of eight) information sessions.

Ashley Askew, the program coordinator, reached out to high school counselors who have 10 or more eligible UH-admitted students, particularly URMs, on their campus for assistance in encouraging them to apply for the program. The program will host 50 participants in an online format due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The program team has met with campus partners to facilitate selection and on-boarding of program participants and has lined up faculty to teach the Calculus I course (Dr. Irina Perepelitsa), the Introduction to Chemistry mini-course (Dr. Lydia St. Hill), and the mini-course on college success (Dr. Donna Smith). Program assessment has demonstrated that this summer experience has promoted and supported student success for the participants in their freshmen year and beyond, and the program team is excited to engage a new group of Coogs in the program this summer.