ICHE grant expands support for STEM education undergrads

27th September 2021

By Steven Krolak

(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)– IU Southeast has received a $325,000 grant from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (CHE) for Growing Tomorrow’s STEM Teachers (GTST) for 2021-2023.

The grant will allow the program to offer, for the first time, full-time tuition and fees to undergraduate students to become science and mathematics teachers in Indiana.

Since 2017, the IU Southeast GTST Project has received $890,000 in external grants to increase the quantity and the quality of science, technology, engineering and mathematics teachers in IU Southeast’s Indiana service area.

The GTST Project pays tuition and fees to highly qualified pre-service and in-service STEM teachers in Indiana school corporations who enroll in one of three IU Southeast programs for STEM teachers. The GTST Project supports in-service teachers wishing to obtain dual-credit endorsement with 18 graduate credit-hours of tuition. At the same time, the Advance to Teaching (A2T) program has recruited highly-qualified, pre-service individuals from the southeastern Indiana area, and provided them with support necessary to become licensed secondary STEM teachers.

The program also offers professional development workshops and seminars for K-12 teachers that have direct relevance to all STEM teachers’ classrooms, and provides mentoring from education, natural science and industry personnel to support candidates to the end of their training.

By expanding support for undergraduates, the new grant will enable the GTST Project to intensify its recruitment and retention of pre-service teachers. This is important: Undergraduates in the School of Education’s secondary education program face special challenges, as the final semester of the program consists of full-time student teaching (clinical practice) in public schools. For those with families or daytime jobs, this has been a major financial obstacle.

The grant will also support virtual professional development workshops on Saturday mornings for teachers as a response to the Covid-19 situation.

“I am very pleased that with this grant, the GTST Project will have over 60 initial or dual-credit teachers in Indiana classrooms,” said Dr. Alan Zollman, professor of secondary education and principal investigator for the project. “These teachers are becoming the leaders in STEM education in their districts.”

In paying tribute to the vision of ICHE and Indiana taxpayers for supporting undergraduates, Zollman noted the ongoing impact of the program on the community.

“This tuition money will pay dividends for many, many years to come to Hoosier children and grandchildren,” Zollman said.

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