October 31, 2008

NSF grant to launch 24 undergraduates from Case Western Reserve University into math and science teaching careers

Students from Case Western Reserve, Fisk University exchange to receive scholarships, internships, mentoring

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is funding a new program at Case Western Reserve University to prepare 24 high-achieving science and math undergraduates for teaching careers.

The newly funded Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program within the College of Arts and Sciences at Case Western Reserve will seek to encourage science and mathematics majors to become high school math and science teachers. The nearly $750,000 grant will be used to recruit research-trained students from biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics into the teaching profession. The program has four components: scholarships, summer internships, mentoring and post-graduation follow-up.

"These program elements combine to create a vibrant professional training community whose goal is to retain well-trained, talented scholars in teaching careers," said Edward Bernetich, the lead investigator on the Noyce project and director of teacher education in the College of Arts and Sciences.

In addition, the Noyce program builds on Case Western Reserve's existing partnership with Fisk University. It will recruit a total of seven Fisk juniors to join their Case Western Reserve peers with the goal of addressing the national shortage of diversity science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers.

Scholarships

Over the course of the grant, 24 scholarships valued at $555,000 will be awarded.

The Noyce program will offer $15,000 scholarships to Case Western Reserve students in their third and fourth years. Fisk students will receive a $15,000 scholarship to study at Case Western Reserve in their junior year.

The awards will be given to science and mathematics majors who maintain a grade point average of 3.0 and higher, demonstrate an interest in teaching as a career and exhibit an ability to work successfully with high school-age students. For each year of scholarship received, students must commit to two years teaching in a high-needs school district.

Cyrus Taylor, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, has committed $60,000 for four additional scholarships to junior STEM majors for their senior year studies in the year following the grant’s end.

Internships

An additional program component will give students early teaching experiences to introduce them to secondary teaching as a career option. The grant provides for paid summer internships working with high school students.

Students who participate in the Noyce summer internships are given preference during scholarship selection.

Mentoring

The centerpiece of the Noyce Program is a new mentoring model called the "reflective triad," which taps into the talents of high school teachers from the partner schools—Cleveland Heights High School, Shaker Heights High School and the new Cleveland Metropolitan STEM schools—and university STEM faculty with experience in K-12 education.

These three groups—the student, Case Western Reserve faculty and high school teachers—will form cohorts and work together towards a new model of teacher training with the goal to invigorate STEM education.

While the state licensure program mandates new teacher mentoring, the Noyce program will provide opportunities that augment existing efforts.

Post-graduation Follow-up

Mentoring continues after graduation through web-based resources for interactive conferences.

Students will have periodic opportunities to interact with mentors, faculty and peers after graduation. The university will chart the progress and success of these Noyce scholars after graduation, and seek their input for program review.

"It has been shown that beginning teachers who are mentored are more effective teachers in their early years," Bernetich said.

"As students become proficient teachers, they will serve as role models and mentors to succeeding generations of teachers, increasing the impact of this program," Bernetich added.

Bernetich will administer the program with co-project investigators James Bader, a lecturer in biology and director of the Center for Science and Mathematics Education (CSME) which brings many K-12 programs to campus; David Singer, professor of mathematics and former director of an NSF program to train math teachers; and Princilla Evans-Morris, chair of the department of chemistry at Fisk. Molly W. Berger, associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, led the effort. Interested students should contact edward.bernetich@case.edu.

For more information contact Jason Tirotta, 216.368.6890.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, October 31, 2008 09:35 AM | News Topics: Collaborations/Partnerships, College of Arts and Sciences, Community Outreach, Grants, HeadlinesMain, Science, Teaching, news

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