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ARRA-funded grant will help fill need for math and science teachers

The University of Memphis has been awarded a $1.5 million Robert Noyce Teaching Fellowship grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to recruit, train and support secondary education math and science teachers for the Memphis City Schools. The award was funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The Volkswagen Group of America provided matching funds for the grant through a gift to the University of Memphis to support Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning. The U of M and Memphis City Schools provided additional matching funds to support the six-year project. 

The goal of the program is to recruit professionals with a bachelor’s degree in math or science who might not have considered teaching as a career. Twenty fellows will have their tuition paid to complete the 30-hour master of arts in teaching degree with licensure in secondary education. Memphis City Schools will fund a part-time residency program to provide mentoring and classroom experiences while the fellows complete the degree, which generally takes a full academic year plus two summers. The aspiring teachers will also have the opportunity to participate in enrichment opportunities, curriculum development, Saturday children’s camps and professional development workshops.

“The College of Education is pleased to join the Memphis City Schools in this important project,” said Dr. Donald Wagner, dean of the U of M College of Education. “Through our joint efforts, we will be working to increase the number of highly qualified math and science teachers. Also, our faculty is examining ways to improve the effectiveness of classroom instruction in math and science.”

Fellows also receive a salary supplement of $10,000 for each of the first four years of their full-time teaching assignment. They will complete about 160 hours of professional development during these four years, including leadership training during the third and fourth years. A long-term goal is for the fellows to become teacher leaders within the school district to assist other teachers in enhancing their math and science instruction.

This year the University of Memphis, along with 170 other universities, pledged to the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) to increase its graduation of mathematics and science teachers. Receipt of the ARRA grant supports this pledge and helps to address Memphis City Schools’ need for highly qualified secondary math and science teachers.

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Last Updated: 1/23/12