How are members of the GFO Community using GFO Resources and Messaging?

How are members of the GFO Community using GFO Resources and Messaging?

By Stephanie Chasteen and Linda Strubbe

Check out this great summary of the many, many ways that your fellow members of the GFO Community are using GFO Resources and Messaging to promote their STEM teacher preparation programs and recruit more future teachers.

Sharing GFO in a classroom setting

One of the most common uses of GFO is in the classroom. Champions commonly present in introductory classes (such as first-year science or math courses). Many also have opportunities to present in courses intended for those interested in education (such as Learning Assistant courses, U-Teach courses, or courses in education). Some use the 15-minute GFO presentation materials or a few GFO slides. Others use GFO materials or data to share information in an informal discussion with students in these classes.

  • I went to as many intro level prerequisite STEM courses as I could (e.g., bio I, chem I, pre-calc, calc I) and gave a 5-minute spiel to STEM majors about our program, [xx]U-Teach. This year, I included GFO on the slide I showed on screen, and added the salary graphic for two [local] counties to the back of the flier I handed out… I did about 30 of these announcements in October & November and our registration for the first prerequisite course for the spring is up 50% over last spring (from 21 to 42)!

Student Presentations at student clubs, seminars, open houses, and more

Just as common is to do student presentations outside of a classroom setting. Champions find many creative ways to get the word out in a variety of venues, such as student clubs, department seminars, or open houses. Some also present to high school or community college students.

  • The Teacher Academy [at X HS] is a class for seniors at our high school who are interested in teaching. The goal was to provide them more information about the benefits of teaching as they consider this as a possible career.
  • I have used the student presentation at our physics department seminar to communicate the facts to physics majors.
  • 1 hr presentation at X University during a campus visit day to high school/transfer students about becoming teachers. Audience was composed of prospective students and family members.
  • We incorporated some of the GFO materials in our recruitment/Preview Day materials.

One-on-one Conversations with students and parents

Another common use of GFO is as a resource when discussing careers with students. Champions use the information from GFO (Data Handouts) with potential pre-service teachers, in one-on-one advising, or with families or parents of future teachers. In these conversations, they might share information about teacher salaries, the job market, benefits, job satisfaction, or other GFO messaging.

  • Many students (and parents) want to hear about the job market associated with a given major. That is easy information to find for physics teaching majors.
  • I make my pre-service teachers aware of them and briefly describe them.

Incoming student events or campus-wide events

Several Champions make use of GFO at specific student-facing events. These events vary at campuses but are often geared towards enrolled students to highlight resources, programs, or majors available on campus, or to highlight career pathways. Those with Noyce programs often use these events to advertise.

  • [My university] has a career corner, where businesses and school divisions can do advertising.  We ran a 4-hour table sitting where we used GFO materials (fliers) that advertised teacher prep from the introductory level to the more detailed levels. 
  • During a campus visit day for prospective students, I talked about physics teaching with 3 students and their families and gave them our GFO marketing materials — a flier and trifold with QR codes to our physics teacher prep program website where they could get more GFO info.

Posters or Digital Screens

GFO offers customizable posters, and many Champions make use of these to have a visible presence on campus or in the department. Some mention hanging posters in their building, a few made a bulletin board displaying GFO teaching facts at the main entrance to the building or used in other ways for recruiting students. Many customized them for their local program information.

  • Bulletin board displaying GFO teaching facts at the main entrance of the building for math and chem students entering the building
  • I sent the posters to our marketing person to have our branding put on them. 
  • Used your posters as template for our own recruiting materials – with students, in venues with faculty and students, in meetings with faculty, at conferences
  • I have added GFO graphics to the digital slideshow that plays continuously at the entrance to the physics building.

Customizing and Sharing fliers or brochuresProgram Flyer Trifold Option #2, Page 1

GFO Champions distribute and share the fliers and brochures in multiple venues, often customizing them to highlight their local program information. They may distribute brochures or post fliers around campus, give a brochure to the university admissions office, and use it at a specific recruiting event. 

  • I have modified GFO posters and fliers to create recruiting materials. We changed the materials to use photographs of professors and students at my university, and to use our color scheme and fonts. These posters and fliers are designed to recruit STEM majors to become teachers through our Noyce Scholars program, an NSF funded program to pay full tuition and fees for a master’s degree for individuals to become math or science teachers.
  • I used a template to make a flier for upcoming Teacher Preparation information sessions.
  • Adapted available fliers and brochures for use in Open Houses and program recruiting.


Using GFO in social media posts or website

Some make use of GFO in social media posts (such as Facebook or Twitter) in order to create awareness of their program or the benefits of the teaching profession. Some also link GFO on their program website. 

  • Used posters for social media posts 
  • Using the templates provided, I’ve created institutional-specific content for use in social media. Social media outlets include Twitter and Facebook accounts associated with the department/university and also large Facebook groups of science educators across the state.
  • I have used some of the memes, videos, and Facebook posts to show to those who may not understand how the teaching profession works.
  • Linked to on webpage. Used factlets on our program STEM teacher recruitment webpage

Sharing GFO information with colleagues or administrators

A great many GFO Champions share the GFO website or material with STEM faculty or others who they think may be interested. They may email materials, or just have a conversation to go through the GFO information or materials. Several have shared with STEM administrators (e.g., the Dean) to garner support.

  • I have contacted colleagues in STEM departments that teach professional development courses and 1st year orientation courses and gone through the materials (slides, poster, website) with them.
  • I emailed the GFO brochure and a few paragraphs about the work of GFO, to a core group of high school physics teachers. The focus of this group in 2023 will be assisting pre-service physics teachers and new physics teachers in high school. My purpose was to tell them what GFO is doing, so that the core group can augment GFO and complement GFO
  • I’ve included GFO descriptions, with links to resources, in association reports to committees and divisions focused on education.
  • Used the salary comparison with my colleagues

GFO Presentations to faculty

Some Champions share information about teaching with local STEM faculty, usually in a department meeting or retreat, or in a STEM education research group meeting

  • I have also used it with my own faculty to try and show them how to shift the mindset to a more positive one about teaching as a career.
  • The director of our UTeach program gave a presentation at the monthly science area chairs and directors’ meeting

Presentations and/or conversations with advisors, recruiters, or career centers

Some Champions find opportunities to share GFO facts with those in career centers, advisors, or college recruiters. Some do this by finding time for a formal presentation. Others share the GFO website or videos in an email, or sit down to discuss the materials. 

  • I presented at the Center for Career and Professional Development team meeting – lots of student employees there as well as staff
  • Used faculty-facing presentation for College of Sciences and Math Advisors. Gave information to advisors to help dispel misinformation of students considering teaching. 
  • Met with STEM college advisors to encourage them to include education as a possible career choice when they talk with advisees.
  • put a bullet point summary into our other email to advisors that had important information about our secondary teaching program.

Regional Presentations to K12 teachers or associations

Some Champions have shared GFO information with practicing teachers, and even a local school board, on a teacher professional day, a professional conference or a webinar. 

  • Share information with school board and listeners, typically this is published in the local paper – 2000 people reached
  • Professional development day – this was presentation for other teachers who want to get the word out about teaching
  • I was host for a roundtable session (50 minutes) at the [state] Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Meeting on teacher shortage and retention issues where we tried to identify issues and possible solutions.  During the later portion of the roundtable I showed some of the tested messages, some of the data gathered by GFO, and select GFO slides that provide alternative researched data that counters the messaging in the media.  The intended audience was higher education faculty, K-12 teachers, K-12 administrators, and K-12 support persons.
  • Co-led a webinar for the [state] AMTE affiliate

Stephanie Chasteen is the GFO External Evaluator. She is a Ph.D. Physicist who creates college educational reform through effective communication and support of research-based instructional techniques. Chasteen possess over 10 years’ experience in communication and education, plus persistence, organization and creative passion. As a physicist, education researcher, writer, and “academic at large,” Chasteen provides quality work on a wide variety of STEM educational projects.