The Department of Science Teaching in Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences recently received a $900,000 Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This highly competitive grant will enable the University to place graduates in rural and urban schools where there is a critical shortage of highly qualified science and mathematics teachers nationwide.
The NSF expanded the Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. SU's new program is a direct result of increased federal support, through the economic stimulus package, for preparing secondary school teachers in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
"Many people are attracted to teaching because they want to have a positive impact on the lives of others," says John Tillotson, associate professor and coordinator of the adolescent science teacher education program. "This new program will enable us to place the best and brightest scientists and mathematicians in classrooms that are in most desperate need and where these teachers can significantly impact student learning."
Tillotson, who holds a dual appointment in the Teaching and Leadership Program in SU's School of Education, is the principle investigator for the Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program grant. Collaborators on the project include the departments of mathematics and biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School, and the School of Education.
The Noyce funding will enable SU to nearly double the number of science and mathematics teachers it graduates over the next five years and provide support to the newly minted teachers in their jobs. The funding will also enable SU to increase efforts to recruit talented undergraduate students and mid-career professionals to become STEM teachers.
Undergraduate students who are selected as Noyce Scholars will be eligible to receive up to $10,000 a year for up to three years to complete a baccalaureate degree program in the sciences or mathematics in The College of Arts and Sciences and earn a teaching certificate through the School of Education. Mid-career professionals or recent STEM graduates will be offered the opportunity to apply for scholarships of up to $20,000 for one year to complete a master's degree program in science or mathematics teacher education. SU is also partnering with Onondaga and Monroe community colleges to recruit students majoring in the STEM disciplines for the Noyce Scholarship Program.