St. Edward's University receives National Science Foundation Grant to establish Noyce Scholarship Program
Recruitment will be targeted at high performing, underrepresented first generation college students majoring in mathematics and the natural sciences at both St. Edward's University and Austin Community College. Building off a partnership that was established with the Teacher Pipeline, St. Edward's will work closely with Austin Community College in selecting and providing instruction to the Scholars with faculty members from both campuses.
"This new partnership between Austin Community College and St. Edward's University is very exciting because it will increase the number of excellent science and math teachers in our Central Texas' schools," said Alice Sessions, Biology Department Chair at Austin Community College.
"Noyce Scholars will be held accountable to higher standards for grades and undergo rigorous field-based preparation with mentoring to ensure their future success in high need schools," said Karen Jenlink, dean of St. Edward's University School of Education.
Recruitment for the program will begin in the 2009 spring semester. Each Noyce Scholar will be eligible to receive $15,500 per year for up to two years. Upon completion of their degree, scholarship recipients are expected to teach four years in AISD high need schools. The hope is to increase the number of locally trained STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) teachers through high quality training as well as provide a workforce that more closely resembles the demographics of the students in the classroom.
"The grant has created an outstanding opportunity for St. Edward's to work with Austin Community College in addressing the issues of teacher shortage and teacher diversity in STEM fields," said Jenlink.
Other elements of the grant include cohort-based professional development from the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin to give advanced preparation to Noyce Scholars before they enter a classroom as well as summer recruitment camps and institutes, which will be held at Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, a new affiliate of St. Edward's University.
Once employed with AISD, Noyce Scholars will maintain a relationship with St. Edward's University and ACC faculty along with their, mentors from the UTEACH Noyce Scholars program who will provide mentoring and induction to ensure successful teaching strategies.
"The impact of the Robert Noyce Scholarship program will be felt in local schools and in work force development long after the grant period has ended," said Jenlink.
As a result of the grant, St. Edward's University hopes to identify successful strategies for recruiting, educating and retaining historically underrepresented math and science teachers as wells as promote greater interest and higher achievement among diverse middle and secondary students in high need schools in the subjects of math and science.