April 07, 2016
Susquehanna University has received a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support the recruitment and education of chemistry, physics and mathematics majors pursuing teaching careers in high-need school districts.
Allocated under the NSF's Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, the grant provides funding to institutions of higher education for scholarships, stipends and programmatic support to recruit and educate STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students and professionals to become seventh- through twelfth-grade teachers.
Beyond the traditional education for a student seeking a career in teaching, Susquehanna's program will also prepare future teachers with a sophisticated understanding of diverse and underserved students' learning needs and their communities. They will also learn engaging instructional practices to use in the classroom.
Students will complete their student-teaching in one of the following high-need school districts—Harrisburg School District; Shikellamy School District, Northumberland County; Upper Darby School District, Delaware County; or Williamsport Area School District. Upon graduation, students will be required to complete two years of teaching in a high-need district for each year of grant support they received.
"It is important that the teachers we graduate not only have deep knowledge about their content area, but also a vested interest in their students and the communities they come from," said Valerie Allison, chair of the Department of Education at Susquehanna. "We know that when students from underserved communities view their teachers as community members, they are more likely to see themselves as capable of pursuing similar academic and professional paths."
In keeping with that spirit, Susquehanna University will recruit Noyce scholars from historically underserved populations (minority, low-income and first-generation students) to increase the presence of relatable role models in math and science.
"We hope that this will encourage more students from underrepresented populations to pursue these fields because they can see themselves in the faces of their teachers," Allison said.
The scholarship program will also promote awareness of linguistic, cultural and economic diversity through field placements and cultural immersion. Students can also become certified as an English as a Second Language (ESL) program specialist. Graduates will be mentored in their young careers through weekend retreats and site visits from their Susquehanna mentors.