By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)—IU Southeast’s School of Education is offering 12 hours of free graduate tuition to students enrolled in the Advance to Teaching (A2T) and dual-credit pathways in STEM content areas.
The offer is part of the school’s Growing Tomorrow’s STEM Teachers (GTST) initiative to enhance recruitment, preparation and advancement of highly-qualified pre-service and in-service teachers of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in Southern Indiana.
The initiative is made possible by a $240,000 grant from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE).
“The School of Education at IU Southeast is the only regional IU school of education to receive the grant,” said Doyin Coker-Kolo, dean of the School of Education at IU Southeast.
The successful proposal was the work of a talented team composed of Dean Coker-Kolo (Principal Investigator), and School of Education faculty members Sumreen Asim, Faye Camahalan, James Hollenbeck, Gary Pinkston, Sridhar Ramachandran, and Alan Zollman (Project Director).
A2T is a pathway to a teaching license for individuals who wish to teach at the high school level in a field in which they already hold a bachelor’s degree.
The A2T program consists of 24 credit hours of coursework. Under the GTST initiative, candidates in STEM field would only need to pay for 12 of those credit hours.
A2T is offered in on-campus, online and hybrid formats.
Courses on campus are held in the evening to be more convenient for busy working adults.
Besides the tuition support, the GTST initiative also offers monetary support for conference attendance, classroom materials, travel and dependent care, helping adult learners cover ancillary costs.
Beyond these monetary benefits, the GTST initiative seeks to facilitate the success of students in numerous other ways.
The initiative provides long-term mentoring from education faculty, natural science faculty and industry professionals. This helps candidates survive and thrive in the classroom. Professional K-12 development workshops and seminars are offered that have direct relevance to all STEM classrooms.
GTST is not just geared to A2T candidates. It will also support current and future dual-credit STEM high school teachers to meet Indiana’s new requirement of 18 credit hours in graduate level courses in their discipline. This program is offered through the Master of Education (Secondary) with a concentration in a STEM content area. This approved degree program requires 18 credit hours of graduate discipline content and 18 hours in graduate pedagogy content. These candidates also receive 12 credit hours for free.
GTST is a collaborative and innovative program engaging both PK-12 and business partners in its implementation.
Already involved are school corporations of Greater Clark County Schools, Lanesville Community School Corporation, New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corporation, South Harrison Community School Corporation and West Clark Community Schools.
Business and community partners include Amatrol, Floyd County Soil & Water Conservation, Johnson & Johnson, Maker 13, and SAMTEC.
Both schools and community partners contributed to the successful grant proposal, suggesting ideas and writing letters of support.
The grant is one more recognition that IU Southeast has staked out a leadership role in STEM education.
That role involves not only offering suitable courses in response to current needs, but also staying at the forefront of research in this constantly changing field.
Recently, eight faculty and staff members from IU Southeast presented research relating to STEM education at the recent School Science and Mathematics Association (SSMA) conference in Lexington, Ky.
It was the largest delegation of presenters in a field that included contributors from Rank-One institutions such as Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and the University of Kentucky.
Presenters were School of Education faculty members Sumreen Asim, Bradford Griggs, Lisa Hoffman, Debi Mink, Gary Pinkston, Susan Ridout, Jacque Singleton and Alan Zollman, along with Melanie Hughes, IU Southeast librarian and coordinator of automation and technical services.
Their six presentations looked at STEM education strategies from a variety of perspectives, illustrating the strong focus on this area among IU Southeast teacher educators.
This depth and diversity enables IU Southeast to offer courses that develop instructors who can succeed during a time of acute teacher shortage.
“K-12 teacher ranks second on the list of Indiana’s 50 hottest jobs in the future,” said Alan Zollman, associate professor of education. “This is due to the dire need for qualified STEM teachers.”
That need will be addressed by the GTST project.
“The ICHE STEM teacher recruitment grant provides an opportunity for Indiana University Southeast to meet the state and the nation’s growing and persistent needs for qualified and creative STEM teachers,” said Coker-Kolo.
Amplifying the impact of the grant, the IU Advance College Project (ACP), an IU office that oversees the delivery of dual credit programs in high schools and the recipient of an ICHE dual credit recruitment grant, has reached out to IU Southeast to request a collaboration. Coker-Kolo has been given the understanding that collaboration could extend to other institutions that have won the dual credit grant.
“It will be a conduit for interested high school teachers to achieve the required Higher Learning Commission credentials as well as develop their creativity to promote new ideas in the field.”
Interested teachers should contact Dr. Alan Zollman, GTST project director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the GTST website.
Homepage photo: Special education majors Erin Renschler and Elizabeth Reinbold with Dr. Sumreen Asim. Integrating technology into the classroom to advance learning in STEM fields is a big part of IU Southeast’s approach and helps to prepare teacher candidates to succeed in the real world. These iPads were used for technology integration in science lesson plans in clinical experiences, bringing 21st century learning skills to STEM inquiry-based lessons.