NEWBERRY, SC – The National Science Foundation has awarded Newberry College with a five-year grant of $797,832 from the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program http://nsfnoyce.org] to support the College’s efforts to produce more science and math teachers for South Carolina school districts. [DUE-1439839].
In an increasingly technological world, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields are increasingly important to the nation’s wealth and global competitiveness, according to a recent report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, an advisory group of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers appointed by the U.S. President.
Despite the acknowledged importance of STEM education, U.S. students consistently lag far behind students in other developed nations. Not only are they less proficient than their international peers, the advisory council cites a lack of interest in STEM fields among students as another barrier. They attribute this, in part, to a critical shortfall of qualified STEM teachers who have the passion for and knowledge of their subject matter to inspire their students.
In response to this critical need, Newberry College developed the Recruit and Engage Mathematics and Science Teachers (REMAST) program to prepare undergraduate level Secondary Education majors to be effective and inspiring Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics teachers.
The REMAST program provides Noyce Scholars with scholarships, educational support and professional development opportunities for students, Teaching Fellows and mentors. The program also will pursue a research agenda to study factors that affect retention of STEM teachers, which it will use to create resources for school professionals and teachers along with published findings.
Phase 1 of the REMAST program was funded in 2009 with the goal of doubling the number of STEM secondary education certified teachers. During that five-year grant period, Newberry College more than quadrupled its STEM certified teaching graduates from three to 16.
“Currently, 100 percent of our REMAST graduates are teaching in high need school districts in South Carolina and elsewhere,” said Christina McCartha, Science and Math department chair and REMAST program coordinator.
With the newly awarded Phase 2 grant, Newberry College projects it will produce 10-16 additional STEM teachers over the course of the next five years. Phase 2 will add leadership and mentor training for participants by partnering with the RETAIN Center of Excellence. Housed on the Newberry College campus, the RETAIN (Retain and Empower Teachers through Action, Innovation and Networking) Center is a state-supported research hub focused on retaining in-service teachers. Partner school districts of Fairfield, Newberry, Lexington and Richland counties will provide diverse settings for Noyce Scholars to explore and experience STEM teaching settings.
ABOUT NEWBERRY COLLEGE: Newberry College is a private, residential, co-educational college with a diverse student population. Founded in 1856 by the Lutheran Church, the College is accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the National Association of Schools of Music. Newberry College was ranked in the top tier of regional colleges in the South in the 2015 issue of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges in the U.S. The College offers baccalaureate degrees in 28 majors, 35 minors, 31 areas of concentration and 10 pre-professional programs and features a radio and television station. The College offers 17 NCAA Division II sports, cheerleading and dance. For more information, go to www.newberry.edu