Rochester Institute of Technology and Nazareth College of Rochester have been awarded a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to cultivate interest among RIT science majors in careers in secondary education, the institutions announced Monday.
The grant, from the NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholar Program, will fund an RIT Learning Assistant program for majors in physics, biology, chemistry and math in RIT’s College of Science, officials said.
The effort supports Tech2Teach, a joint program between RIT and Nazareth to support RIT students considering careers as middle school and high school math, science and technology teachers.
Tech2Teach allows undergraduate RIT majors in science and engineering disciplines to begin graduate work in Nazareth’s master of science education program during their third and fourth years.
The program is expected to create a stronger pipeline of teachers with expertise in these fields, said Scott Franklin, professor of physics and director of the Science and Mathematics Education Research Collaborative at RIT.
“The Learning Assistant program is the gateway through which RIT students can enter Tech2Teach and should increase the number of students who pursue secondary education careers,” Franklin said. “As a result, public schools will ultimately be able to recruit from a pool of new teachers who have a deep knowledge of a STEM discipline as well as educational theory and practice.”
Franklin is working with Craig Hill, interim dean of the Nazareth school of education, and Patricia Huntington, director of academic support services in the school of education at Nazareth, to develop the two-phase program, most of which will reside at RIT.
“Nazareth College is committed to addressing the decline in the number of college graduates in the U.S. who pursue K-12 teaching careers in science, technology and mathematics,” Hill said. “Nazareth values this creative partnership with RIT that encourages undergraduate students to pursue the further study of education while showcasing a spirit of collaboration among higher educators in our region.”
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