February 22, 2016 – Mines faculty and their partners at University of Northern Colorado have been awarded $1.2 million to provide a pathway for undergraduate Mines students to become teachers for grades 7 through 12, particularly in high-need school districts.
The Mines-UNC STEM Teacher Preparation Program, funded by the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, will provide Mines students with teaching-focused internships in their freshman and sophomore years; scholarships in their junior and senior years, as well as their semester of student-teaching after graduation; and professional development during their first few years as teachers.
While Mines provides the content preparation, UNC, a strong teacher-preparation institution, will deliver the Professional Teacher Education Program. The partnership could serve as a model for similar collaborations between other matched institutions.
“By tapping into this pool of students with a strong STEM content knowledge and providing them with early field experiences, mentorship, and financial support, we hope to help meet the need for more highly qualified STEM teachers,” said Physics Teaching Associate Professor Kristine Callan, principal investigator, and co-PI Renee Falconer, teaching professor of Chemistry and Geochemistry. Their colleagues at UNC include PI Christy Moroye, co-PI Rob Reinsvold, and senior investigator Wendy Adams.
Other goals of the project are to investigate and address perceptions about teaching as a career and maintain a culture supportive of teaching at Mines; provide insight into how a partnership between a strong engineering school and a strong teacher education school can increase recruitment and retention of STEM majors into the profession; and evaluate the value of early support for aspiring teachers.
The project will fund 18 scholarships and 30 internships over five years, and includes collaborations with Denver, Jefferson County, and St. Vrain Valley school districts.