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Professor and alternative careers in teaching director Michael Beeth will be leading the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh as co-principal investigator in the upcoming Network Retention in Noyce Communities of Practice research.

The research is funded by the National Science Foundation and will seek answers to the fundamental questions regarding the ability to successfully prepare and retain highly qualified secondary science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers in U.S. public schools. Currently, there is a lack of empirical data linking induction (as a teacher) and teacher retention.

“We recognize the importance and demand for a qualified, competent, and a stable k-12 science teaching workforce but we want to highlight and understand what makes a teacher feel successful in their position in order to retain their talent,” Beeth said.

UW Oshkosh joins Kennesaw State University, Stony Brook University, University of Kentucky, University of Minnesota and the University of Missouri-St Louis in the research project and will utilize social network analysis to describe and quantitatively analyze more than 200 early-career teachers.

“As a leader in teacher education in the state of Wisconsin, it is crucial for UW Oshkosh to recruit and prepare teachers in STEM fields. This research will assist in that cause and is an excellent example of the type of research that can be conducted by a comprehensive university like ours that has the potential to directly benefit our state” said interim Provost John Koker.

The research is designed with three main data collection stages for understanding the characteristics of teacher networks. More than 80 teachers will be invited to participate in the study for UW Oshkosh. All three data collection stages kicked off in April 2017 and will be administered annually for three years.