Colorado State University - Pueblo granted $1.26 million for teacher scholarship program


Colorado State University - Pueblo granted $1.26 million for teacher scholarship program

PUEBLO – Colorado State University – Pueblo has been awarded a five-year, $1.26 million grant from the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to address a critical shortage of K-12 mathematics teachers by encouraging talented science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors and professionals to enter the teaching profession. 

According to Janet Barnett, professor of mathematics and principal investigator of the grant, the NSF Noyce program provides funds to institutions of higher education to support scholarships, stipends, and academic programs for undergraduate majors and post-baccalaureate students holding STEM degrees that earn a teaching credential and commit to teaching in high-needs K-12 school districts.

The University expects to graduate approximately 40 new teachers of secondary mathematics over the next five years with help from the grant, according to Janet Nichols, associate professor of mathematics and coordinator of the new CSU–Pueblo Noyce Scholars Program.

Scholarships for qualified individuals within two years of completing an undergraduate degree in mathematics or a related field will be available in amounts ranging from $14,000 to $18,000 per year for a maximum of two years. 

One-year stipends ranging up to $23,000 also will be available to STEM professionals who already hold an undergraduate or higher degree from an accredited institution and wish to obtain a secondary mathematics teaching license. 

All Noyce scholarship and stipend recipients will be required to teach two years in a high-needs school district for each year of Noyce support and receive mentoring and professional development support through the grant during their first two years of teaching.  Additional Noyce grant funds will provide summer internship opportunities for freshman and sophomore students who are enrolled in a two-year or four-year college and interested in pursuing a career in secondary mathematics education.  The program also will work with the Office of Student Financial Services to encourage Noyce recipients who qualify to apply for the Federal TEACH grant, which would provide up to $4,000 of additional yearly support. 


A highly competitive grant process, the NSF Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program funded only about 40 of the 156 institutions that applied.  The CSU–Pueblo Noyce Scholars Program grant proposal was jointly developed by the Department of Mathematics and Physics and the Teacher Education Program in collaboration with a number of regional partners, including the Pueblo City Schools District and Pueblo County School District 70.  The program’s four community college partners are Pueblo Community College, Pikes Peak Community College, Lamar Community College, and Trinidad State Junior College.  Community partners involved in the program’s summer internship component include The Boys and Girls Clubs of Pueblo County, Space Foundation, The Pueblo Zoological Society, and The Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo. 
 
“The program’s ultimate goal is to meet the mathematical education needs of all middle school and high school students in the Southeastern Colorado region by providing incentives and support which will attract mathematically talented individuals to the teaching profession, provide them with the strong content and pedagogical training required to teach in high-needs schools, and retain them within the teaching profession,” said Frank Zizza, chair of the CSU-Pueblo Department of Mathematics and Physics.

CSU-Pueblo Associate Dean of Teacher Education Victoria Marquesen noted the grant will remove several major obstacles currently encountered by potential secondary mathematics teachers in the Pueblo service region, including a lack of knowledge about the teaching profession, a lack of adequate financial resources to pursue a teaching license, and a lack of adequate support during the initial years of teaching.  Through its partnership with a number of Hispanic-serving institutions, led by CSU-Pueblo, the program also will broaden STEM participation of underrepresented groups.

The NSF grant review team commended the University for the rigorous requirements of its mathematics program and for the strong collaboration between mathematics faculty, teacher education faculty, local school districts, and other non-traditional educational institutions.  The review team also believed that the models proposed by CSU–Pueblo for the collaborative mentorship of new and beginning teachers could be reproduced in order to enhance mathematics education in similar locations throughout the nation.
The University expects to award the first CSU–Pueblo Noyce Scholarships during the 2011-2012 academic year, with the summer internship program to begin in summer 2012.  For more information about application criteria, contact Janet Nichols at 719-549-2642, or janet.nichols@colostate-pueblo.edu.

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.