Bi-College Team Wins NSF Grant to Train Science Teachers

Posted November 25th, 2009 at 11:22 am.

donnay_teaching

Professor of Mathematics Victor Donnay is the principal investigator for the project.

New scholarship funding is available to Bryn Mawr and Haverford science and math majors through an $897,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher/Scholar Program, which seeks to encourage talented science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors and professionals to become K-12 mathematics and science teachers.

On Tuesday, Dec. 1, from 7 to 8:30 p.m, the program’s organizers will host a kick-off event titled “Math and Science Education: Social Justice, Triumphs and Challenges” in Room H109 of Haverford’s Koshland Integrated National Sciences Center. The program will feature a panel of Bi-College alumnae/i —Julien Colvin ’05, Ashley Dawkins ’08, Mike Ranen ’00, and Laurie Rubel ’92—who majored in STEM disciplines and went on to careers in science education. Howard Glasser ’00 will moderate.

Over three years, the Noyce grant will offer two-year scholarships for three sets of three students, supporting the completion of a disciplinary major in their senior years and their education requirements in a fifth year. In exchange for each year of scholarship funding, recipients give two years of service by teaching in high-need school districts. The program also provides mentoring and professional-development support during recipients’ first two years of teaching.

Next Tuesday’s panel discussion is the first of a series to be sponsored by the Noyce grant to raise the profile of careers in math and science education. The program will also fund a number of weeklong internships over spring break each year so that students can shadow teachers.

“We hope that these initiatives will help build a strong network of connections among alumnae in math and science education,” said Professor of Mathematics Victor Donnay. Alumnae/i who would like to serve as resources for the Noyce program are invited to contact the program administrator, Kim Lipetiz (klipetz@brynmawr.edu).

Howard Glasser, who will moderate Tuesday’s panel, will continue to raise awareness of science education on campus as a postdoctoral fellow in science education through Bryn Mawr’s Howard Hughes grant. Glasser, whose research interests are in equity, social justice, and underrepresentation issues in education, is teaching a course called Changing Pedagogies in Math and Science Education.

A critical shortage of well-qualified math and science teachers in the United States seriously limits literacy in those areas among students who will become the next generation of decision makers. A research component of the project will look at the appropriate role for liberal-arts colleges and their students to play in addressing this shortage as well as the supports and barriers students face when considering a career in math and science teaching. Joy Quill ’66, who specializes in evaluating human service programs, is external evaluator for the program and will help with this research agenda.

The leadership team includes Donnay, Professor of Biology Peter Brodfeuhrer, Senior Lecturer in Education Alice Lesnick, and Robert Fairman and Joshua Sabloff of Haverford. The project grows out of Donnay’s previous involvement with the Math and Science Partnership of Greater Philadelphia, which focused on improving secondary math and science education.

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