NSF grant to help fulfill nationwide STEM education need

grant

The University of Indianapolis will impact the growing local and national need for STEM educators through a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program.

Through the University’s Teach (STEM)³ program, the Noyce grant will enhance collaboration between high-need, local schools to prepare and mentor 36 teacher candidates, who commit to serve as high school STEM teachers after graduation. The grant—the first of its kind for the Teach (STEM)³ program—will help these candidates complete the intensive, one-year program without undue financial hardship. Graduates will emerge with a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree and fill a critical need to support STEM education.

“This grant is another successful example of the collaborative and strategic efforts of the University of Indianapolis with area schools to respond to the workforce development needs of our state,” said University President Robert Manuel. “Through innovation and creativity, we train future teachers to inspire students in STEM fields and best prepare them for the many future career opportunities while addressing the growing need of employers.”

The Noyce grant will fund the University’s “Urban Clinical Residency and Induction Support for Preparing Secondary STEM Teachers,” Initiative, a project-based learning program focused on problem solving, performance and critical thinking skills. Teach (STEM)³ is a collaboration between the Shaheen College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Education at the University of Indianapolis. The program (formerly the Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellowship at UIndy) has graduated 70 teachers who have influenced more than 45,000 students across Indiana. Graduates are able to teach anywhere in the country, although many choose to stay in Indiana classrooms.

The program includes a clinical residency, a unique graduate experience that offers candidates the opportunity to partner with a master teacher in a classroom throughout an entire school year while simultaneously completing graduate coursework to earn an MAT degree and teaching license. This allows teacher candidates to immediately apply what they learn in their coursework, said Deb Sachs, director of the Teach (STEM)³ Program and co-principal investigator of the grant initiative, along with Kim Baker, assistant professor of Biology, and Kathy Stickney, associate professor and chair of Chemistry. Findings from the Teach (STEM)³ Noyce Initiative will contribute to the knowledge of teacher education programs across the country and the benefits of clinical residencies. The program also will impact and guide other universities as they consider implementing similar programs that include clinical residency and mentoring components.

“Our program is designed to provide future STEM teachers the guidance and support they need to encourage their students to discover, explore and think critically in subjects that are important to their future success,” Stickney said.

The Noyce Initiative further strengthens the University’s significant role in filling the pipeline of talent in STEM fields, both in the classroom and in the workforce. The University recently announced the launch of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering to address the ongoing challenge of local business partners to find highly trained engineers and STEM graduates to help businesses grow and remain competitive. STEM careers consistently rank among the top in-demand careers for Indiana businesses.

“We are excited to continue to offer this unique clinical residency STEM teacher preparation program and look forward to building on the strong relationships we have with our partner school districts,” Sachs said. “Together, we are producing the talent needed to prepare students to excel in STEM fields.”

“The awarding of this competitive National Science Foundation grant highlights our ongoing commitment to collaboration between the Shaheen College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Education to achieve our shared goal of training high-quality Indiana teachers,” said Jennifer Drake, dean of the Shaheen College of Arts & Sciences.

“This is an exciting opportunity to continue innovative and creative approaches to teaching future teachers. UIndy is proud to continue its excellence in the preparation of STEM teachers,” said Colleen Mulholland, School of Education interim dean and associate professor of Secondary Education.

About the University of Indianapolis
The University of Indianapolis, founded in 1902, is a private, liberal arts university located just a few minutes from downtown Indianapolis. UIndy is ranked among the top Midwest Universities by the U.S. News and World Report, with a diverse enrollment of more than 5,200 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students. The University offers a wide variety of study areas, including 100 undergraduate degrees, more than 35 master’s degree programs and five doctoral programs. More occupational therapists, physical therapists and clinical psychologists graduate from UIndy each year than any other state institution. With strong programs also in engineering, business, and education, UIndy impacts its community by living its motto, “Education for Service.”