NSF Gives Lewis Teacher Preparation Program $1.4 million

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NSF Gives Lewis University STEM Teacher Preparation Program $1.4 million

Published: October 8, 2015.

Lewis University received a $1.4 million National Science Foundation grant to support a project in “Using Reality-Based Learning Practicum and Mentoring Structures to Enhance STEM Teacher Preparation for High Needs Schools.”

Lewis University will be using the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program to better prepare undergraduate majors in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics to become 6-12th grade mathematics or science teachers. Three main components of the Lewis University Noyce Scholar program include scholarships, quality Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics teacher preparation and collaboration with community partners.

Scholarship levels are based on the cost of attendance and unmet financial need. Over a five-year period, 36 two-year scholarships will be awarded to biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics majors who simultaneously major in middle/secondary education and commit to program requirements. Upon completion of the program, Noyce scholars will earn both their double major and a Professional Educator License with endorsements in their content and grade-level specifications.

Enrollment into the program begins in August 2016. Each semester, a group of six students will be selected for the program. Noyce Scholars are selected based on current GPA, citizenship status, credit hours in biology, chemistry, mathematics, or physics, full-time enrollment, application essay and financial application.

The Noyce Scholar program builds upon Lewis University’s middle and secondary math and science teacher education program, which is steeped in comprehensive science content and high-impact pedagogical practices. Noyce Scholars will work with a mentor during their coursework at Lewis University and continue the professional development relationship for two years after graduation. Noyce Scholars will participate in and present research in the area of STEM education. Noyce Scholars will benefit from expanded field experiences and revised teaching methods courses that will enhance their preparation to teach STEM.

Lewis University is collaborating with Joliet Junior College, the College of DuPage, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Three Rivers Manufacturers Association, Valley View Public School District U365, Joliet District 86 and Oak Lawn District 218.

High-need schools benefit from the Noyce scholars as they commit to teach full-time in a high-need school as a licensed teacher in mathematics or science for two years for each scholarship year.

Noyce Scholars will engage in a six-week Reality-Based Learning Summer Practicum with community-based partners, including the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie and the Three Rivers Manufacturers Association. Scholars will participate in activities with STEM faculty and STEM and/or educational professionals working in the community, discovering how research translates into practice in the real world and how it can be applied to their future classrooms.

Joliet Junior College and the College of DuPage will partner with Lewis University in recruiting Noyce Scholar candidates as well as promoting better STEM teacher preparation through hosting pedagogical and content knowledge workshops throughout the year.

For more information, contact Dr. Dorene Huvaere, chair and professor of Secondary Education, at huvaerdo@lewisu.edu or (815)836-5885.

This is the third NSF grant received by Lewis University this year. The first grant was announced in February for $613,428 in support of the STEM Connections program in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics, and Chemical Physics. The second grant for $201,123 was announced in June that uses mathematical modeling projects to improve STEM education as well.

Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 7,000 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Visit www.lewisu.edu for further information.

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