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“Involving University Science Faculty in the Preparation of

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									   Investigating K-12/University
Partnerships: A Case Study Analysis

   Zulma Y. Méndez, Ph.D.           Rodolfo Rincones, Ph.D.


                 College of Education
  Department of Educational Leadership & Foundations
     Center for Research on Educational Reform
              UTEP Research Conference, April 3-4, 2008
                          Contact Information:

                              Dr. Zulma Y. Méndez
                              COE-EDLF, Rm. 504
                                   747- 7594
                              zmendez@utep.edu


                              Dr. Rodolfo Rincones
                              COE-EDLF, Rm. 501-C
                                    747- 7614
                               rrincones@utep.edu



This research was made possible with an MSP grant and funding from the National
                     Science Foundation (EHR-0227124).
                 Research Questions
                General Research Question:

How K-12/University partnerships unfold in practice?
How MSP sought to promote collaborations towards enhancing
teacher quality, quantity, and diversity, as well as challenging
courses and school curricula that fosters and improves student
achievement?

                    Related Research Questions:

  To what extent are STEM faculty engaged in (a) pre-service and
  graduate teacher education and (b) K-12 science and mathematics
  education?

  What University-K-12 partnerships mean for university faculty who
  participate in them, and for the university academic units that support
  such collaborations?
       Research Design and Methods
   Case study using a mixed-methods approach.

   Quantitative Data:
    ◦ STEM Faculty Survey: 2005, 2006, 2007,
       and 2008 (in progress).
    ◦ Descriptive statistics.

   Qualitative Data:
    ◦ Open-ended questions in STEM Faculty Survey.
    ◦ Semi-structured interviews with STEM faculty and
      College and University administrators.
    ◦ Interpretive Analysis.
           Engagement in Pre-service & Graduate Teacher Education

       Item                  2005 (n=25)                    2006 (n=53)                  2007 (n=36)
Involvement in pre-   Not involved or Barely        Not involved or Barely        Not involved or Barely
service teacher       involved: 41.6%               involved: 47.8%               involved: 56%
education             Occasionally involved or      Occasionally involved         Moderately involved: 32%
                      Moderately involved: 25%      Moderately involved: 45.6%    Very involved: 12%
                      Very involved: 33.3%          Very involved: 6.5%

Importance for        Very important or Somewhat    Very important or Somewhat    Very important or Somewhat
STEM faculty to       important: 96%                important: 89.1%              important: 75%
engage in the         Neutral: 4%                   Neutral: 10.9%                Neutral: 22%
preparation of pre-   Somewhat unimportant or Not   Somewhat unimportant or Not   Somewhat unimportant or Not
service teachers?     important at all: 0%          important at all: 0%          important at all: 2.8%


Involvement in        Not involved or Barely        Not involved or Barely        Not involved or Barely
teaching graduate     involved: 56.5%               involved: 69.8%               involved: 50%
teacher education     Occasionally involved or      Occasionally involved: 9.3%   Moderately involved: 20.6%
                      Moderately involved: 13%      Moderately involved or Very   Very involved: 29.4%
                      Very involved: 30.4%          involved: 20.9%

Importance for        Very important or Somewhat    Very important or Somewhat    Very important or Somewhat
STEM faculty to       important: 88%                important: 86%                important: 78%
engage in the         Neutral: 12%                  Neutral: 9.3%                 Neutral: 19%
graduate education    Somewhat unimportant or Not   Somewhat unimportant or Not   Somewhat unimportant or Not
of current teachers   important at all: 0%          important at all: 4.6%        important at all: 2.7%
                                         Work in K-12 Schools
        Item                  2005 (n=25)                   2006 (n=53)                       2007 (n=36)
Importance for         Very important or             Very important or             Very important or Somewhat
STEM faculty to        Somewhat important:           Somewhat important:           important: 41.7%
engage in any          65.2%                         58.9%                         Neutral: 55.6%
activities in K-12     Neutral: 21.7%                Neutral: 15.4%                Somewhat unimportant or Not
schools                Somewhat unimportant or Not   Somewhat unimportant or       important at all: 2.8%
                       important at all: 13%         Not important at all: 25.6%


Involvement in         Not involved or Barely        Not involved or Barely        Positively changed your attitude:
working with K-12      involved: 47.8%               involved: 67.5%               26.7%
schools?               Occasionally involved: 13%    Occasionally involved: 25%    Negatively changed your attitude:
                       Moderately involved or Very   Moderately involved or Very   3.3%
                       involved: 39.1%               involved: 7.5%                Made no change in attitude:
                                                                                   70%


Should faculty         Yes: 100%                     Yes: 90%                      Yes: 91%
members be             No: 0%                        No: 10%                       No: 10%
recognized for their
involvement in K-12
schools?
                      Faculty Expectations, Preferences, and Time

      Item                 2005 (n=25)                       2006 (n=53)                      2007 (n=36)
How do you        Teaching more than research: 8%   Teaching more than research:      Teaching more than research:
prefer to spend   Research more than teaching:      2.1%                              5.7%
your time?        36%                               Research more than teaching:      Research more than teaching:
                  About equal: 56%                  39.6%                             34.3%
                                                    About equal: 58.3%                About equal: 60%
What do you       Focus more on research: 60%       Focus more on research: 42.6%     Focus more on research: 44%
believe your      Focus more on teaching: 0%        Focus more on teaching: 4.3%      Focus more on teaching: 8%
academic          Focus on an even balance: 40%     Focus on an even balance:         Focus on an even balance:
department                                          53.2%                             47%
prefers you do?

What do you       Focus more on research: 80%       Focus more on research 57.4%      Focus more on research 55.6%
believe your      Focus more on teaching: 0%        Focus more on teaching: 4.3%      Focus more on teaching: 8.3%
college prefers   Focus on an even balance: 20%     Focus on an even balance: 38.3%   Focus on an even balance: 36%
you do?


What do you       Focus more on research: 72%       Focus more on research: 40.4%     Focus more on research:
believe the       Focus more on teaching: 0%        Focus more on teaching: 8.5%      51.4%
university        Focus on an even balance: 28%     Focus on an even balance:         Focus more on teaching: 11%
prefers you do?                                     51%                               Focus on an even balance: 37%
Participants’ Perceptions Concerning Work with Schools

“I view math/science education as a continuum between K-12 and post-
 graduate studies. Whatever we can do to enhance K-12 helps everyone
 and benefits our programs at the university level.”

“Involvement with K-12 schools is very important to science disciplines,
 especially because of the decrease in numbers of science teachers in
 general.”

“Improvement of our college graduates needs to start by better
preparation of students in K-12 -which starts with better preparation of
their teachers.”

“Any of these activities support relevant research.”
       Participants Perceptions on How Involvement with Schools
                          Should be Recognized
    “As a state funded institution, we owe this involvement to the community, and recognition encourages this
    participation. Because involvement in K-12 schools often has a big impact on preparation of students enrolled at
    [our university], a sacrifice is made of time that could have been spent on research. [Our university] rewards
    publications, grants, and the push ha[s] gotten even stronger for faculty to spend more time on research and
    proposal writing. So, if [our university] wants faculty members involved, then they need to recognize this work.”


   “The current load for teaching, research, committee work is already heavy given the developing infrastructure [at
    UTEP] for research and the special needs of our students in their regular coursework, for example, extra office
    hours, encouragement, and gaps in background.”


   “Faculty should not be placed under constraints to do and perform some tasks repeatedly, then find out that what
    they are being asked to do has nothing to do with the university’s reward system!”

   “It seems to me that only publishing and grants will gain me tenure. Any work I do in the schools is seen as
    ‘outreach.’”


   “Although a full professor, I do not sense that my colleagues in my department who may evaluate me would value
    K-12 activities.”
   “As a new assistant professor, I would prefer to be involved more in my teaching and research than in K-12
    schools.”
       Implications for a Future Research Agenda focused on
                    K-12/University Partnerships

-The survey responses in our study raise intriguing questions about K-12/University
partnerships.


-The process by which schools and universities can efficaciously partner to strengthen
the educational enterprise is not well understood, but is of critical importance.


-Further research focusing on the processes by which partnerships evolve in practice is
critical (Clifford and Millar, 2007).


-Through the study of inputs or treatments as actually delivered it is possible to identify
what works; but most importantly, how particular outcomes are produced.


-Partnerships, in general, surface as a complex initiatives to study, rather than just
straightforward interventions to implement.
Thank you!

								
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