A $900K boost for STEM teacher preparation

TU to use new NSF Award to establish STEM teacher scholarship program

TOWSON, Md. (June 2009) - The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded TU a five-year grant worth $900,000 to establish the TU Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. The Noyce scholarship will focus specifically on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teacher preparation at the secondary school level and offers scholarships to meritorious undergraduate juniors and seniors. The program also aims to recruit STEM professionals interested in getting teacher certification. For every year of support they receive, recipients are committed to teach in a high-need school district for two years.

The recruitment phase of the program aims to target students with academic potential and financial need. It will rely heavily on coordination efforts with other NSF programs and activities currently at Towson University, including:

These programs, along with several other STEM funding initiatives, will provide the Noyce scholarship program with a diverse pool of candidates.

“What’s really appealing about this program is that it will support our graduates beyond the preparatory phase,” says David Vanko, acting dean of the Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics and the project’s principal investigator. During the new teachers’ induction phase, TU will monitor and mentor Noyce scholars for six years beyond certification.

“By tracking their progress and setbacks in the teaching field,” says Vanko, “we will be able to assist graduates with the additional resources and support which are so critical in the early years.” He says TU also will “fine-tune” the program so it continues to serve the new teachers’ needs, with plans to create a Noyce scholars virtual community, provide ongoing instructional materials, and offer annual workshops.

Vanko’s fellow project team members include Katherine Denniston, acting provost and vice president for academic affairs; Todd Kenreich, associate professor, Department of Secondary Education; Donald Thomas, director of the Willard Hackerman Academy; and Jane Wolfson, director of the environmental science and studies program.

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