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The University of Texas at ArlingtonThe University of Texas at Arlington

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Department of Mathematics News

UTA awarded NSF grant to recruit more STEM teachers

UTA received a Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program grant recently to help recruit and prepare STEM teachers.
UTA received a Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program grant recently to help recruit and prepare STEM teachers.

The National Science Foundation has awarded close to $1.5 million in a Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program grant to The University of Texas at Arlington to promote the recruitment, preparation and induction of new science and mathematics teachers.

The grant also adds computer science and engineering teachers to the pool.

Ann Cavallo, UTA College of Education associate dean for Research and Graduate Studies, is principal investigator in collaboration with colleagues from the Colleges of Science and Engineering.

Cavallo, who also serves as co-director of UTeach Arlington and has received similar grants from NSF previously, is joined on the project by Greg Hale, assistant dean in the College of Science, co-director of UTeach Arlington and director of the Science Education and Career Center; Ramon Lopez, physics professor and also UTeach co-director; James Alvarez, professor of mathematics; and Carter Tiernan, assistant dean for Student Affairs in the College of Engineering; as co-principal investigators.

The project is titled “Recruiting and Preparing a New Generation of Mathematics, Science, and Computer Science Teachers for High Need Schools.” The grant begins June 1 and runs through May 31, 2023.

“I’m thrilled that the National Science Foundation feels so highly of our STEM programs, especially our UTeach Arlington program, and that because of the success we’ve had with our previous NSF Noyce grants, they continue to support us,” Cavallo said. “This grant benefits our science and mathematics students at UTA seeking secondary teacher certification and has been a long standing collaborative effort between the College of Education and College of Science. Unique to this grant program is a new collaboration with the College of Engineering where we will add secondary Computer Science teacher certification as an option for students, in addition to mathematics and science.”

UTeach Arlington was initially sponsored by a grant from the National Math + Science Initiative and is now supported by the university as well as operating grants such as the Noyce program funding.

Hale said the NSF Noyce grants have complemented the UTeach Arlington program.

“It’s helped us to achieve more than a 500 percent increase in secondary STEM teacher production since 2006,” Hale said. “This level of success has greatly enhanced our national reputation with philanthropic foundations and influential professional organizations.”

Tiernan said that offering computer science and engineering students the opportunity for high school teaching certification before graduation broadens the career options for these students.

“It gives them a chance to give back,” Tiernan said. “One goal for the addition of this teaching certification to our CSE degree programs is to attract additional students into these programs who might not be interested in industry careers but may still have a strong CS ability and an interest in teaching. We hope this can increase our CSE department diversity and size.”

This NSF grant provides many opportunities in addition to a sizable scholarship including professional development, school-based Mentor teacher support, and access to teaching resources, and offers Noyce Scholars the chance to conduct research with agencies such as Biosphere 2, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.

“UTA maintains a reputation for preparing highly effective teachers for STEM teaching careers, said Dr. Teresa Doughty, dean of the College of Education. “We are thrilled by this award and the opportunity it affords for continuing student support as they pursue teaching in a STEM area.”