ImpactWinter 2012

STEM education keeps UIndy on national map

UIndy continues to gain national attention for its efforts to prepare K-12 teachers in the vital STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The University recently received its second-ever grant from the National Science Foundation, $150,000 to help redesign undergraduate teacher-preparation programs. The funds will be used for a new initiative aimed at producing more science teachers for high-need schools.

The grant will fund a one-year process of laying the groundwork for UIndy’s participation in the NSF’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. The School of Education and College of Arts & Sciences will work with other campus entities and community partners to build the infrastructure for a UIndy Noyce program.

Their initial work will include developing:
—an enhanced curriculum for undergraduates seeking licensure to teach chemistry and life sciences, with a greater focus on science content as well as high-quality summer internships and school-based clinical experiences;
—a research-based mentoring program to support and retain Noyce Scholars in their first three years of teaching; and
—an innovative recruitment and communication plan to reach potential Noyce Scholars at multiple points as they enter college or transfer from other majors or other institutions, which includes partnering with high-need schools in Indianapolis to recruit their graduates as Noyce Scholars.

UIndy plans to apply in 2012 for a subse-quent National Science Foundation grant to launch the Noyce scholarship program, which would add to the University’s current selection of pathways into STEM teaching. Other options for UIndy teacher education students include innovative bachelor’s degree programs, a master of arts in teaching (MAT) degree targeting career-changers from all content areas, and the Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellowship program, a one-year school-based residency leading to the MAT and focused on STEM education. UIndy is one of just four Indiana institutions that created a rigorous new program in order to offer the Woodrow Wilson fellowships, which now serve as a national model.

“The goals of the Noyce and Woodrow Wilson programs are similar,” said UIndy’s principal investigator for the NSF-funded work, Katherine Stickney, associate professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry. “So we already have a proven track record in developing this type of curriculum and the partnerships that make it possible. These new scholarships will provide another option for students who want to become STEM teachers, and this development process also will complement the ongoing effort to keep improving our teacher-preparation programs.”

Plus: 100K in 10

In related news announced in September, UIndy was selected to join more than 80 other organizations in a national movement to recruit, prepare, and retain 100,000 skilled STEM teachers over the next 10 years. Partners in the “100Kin10” initiative, led by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, include major corporations such as Dow and Google, federal agencies such as NASA and NOAA, public school districts, museums, higher education institutions, foundations, professional associations, and state governments, as well as not-for-profit organizations.

UIndy, nominated by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation for the competitive selection process, is one of only a dozen universities participating, and the only one in Indiana. To be selected as a partner—a status that includes the possibility of support from a range of prominent funding organizations—UIndy made specific commitments that include expanding and enhancing the Wilson Fellowship program as well as the evening and weekend MAT program and the undergraduate secondary education program.

The University also will partner with the Woodrow Wilson foundation and the state of Indiana to track the academic achievement of students taught by UIndy graduates, use that data for continuous program review and improvement, and share best practices with other institutions. More information on the 100Kin10 initiative can be found at www.100Kin10.org.

Marty
the authorMarty