SAVANNAH–Savannah State University (SSU) is the recipient of a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. The five year grant, which begins Sept. 1, will prepare STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – teachers for high-need middle and high school classrooms.
“This initiative will enhance Savannah State’s ability to produce a well-qualified pool of teachers in the STEM subject areas, which will help alleviate workforce shortages in this area of national need,” said C. Reynold Verret, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at SSU. “Through the Noyce grant activity and by preparing key educators, SSU will address the need to cultivate the pipeline of future STEM professionals who will drive our economy.”
In partnership with Savannah Technical College and the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, SSU faculty members from both the School of Teacher Education and the College of Sciences and Technology will recruit, mentor, educate and certify students to increase the number of high-quality, technology education-certified STEM teachers.
During the five-year grant period, the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program is expected to prepare at least 28 undergraduate math and engineering majors and 10 STEM professionals to become certified in grades 6-12. The Noyce scholars – SSU juniors and seniors and STEM professionals – will each be eligible for a $10,000 scholarship per year. To cultivate an interest in the teaching profession, 20 students from Savannah Technical College and SSU will be tapped each year for the Summer Educational Internship Program and will be eligible for $1,000 stipends. Local school systems will provide the teacher candidates with clinical experiences, professional mentors and a detailed induction process, which will include ongoing monitoring to ensure a successful classroom transition and subsequent retention.
“Channeling talented students into the STEM fields is critically important for the economic vitality of the state,” explained Keenya G. Mosley, Ph.D., principal investigator for the grant and assistant professor in SSU’s School of Teacher Education. “One way to accomplish this task is to produce teacher candidates who will remain in the STEM classrooms. Our project has a proactive recruitment plan, comprehensive training program and a rigorous mentoring plan that will yield positive results.”
According to Savannah-Chatham County Public School System statistics supplied for the grant application, the district lost 12 percent of its STEM faculty per year between 2005 and 2012. Recently, a U.S. presidential goal was announced calling for the preparation of 100,000 new STEM teachers during the next decade. Nationally, STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17 percent from 2008 to 2018 compared to 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM occupations. STEM skills are key to many high-demand career options including those found in computer and information technology, science, healthcare and business.
Established in 1890, Savannah State University is the oldest public historically black college or university in Georgia and the oldest institution of higher learning in the city of Savannah. The university’s 4,800 students select degree majors from 27 undergraduate and five graduate programs in the three colleges – Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Sciences and Technology – and the School of Teacher Education.