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TitleUSD Awarded $900,000 Grant to Support Future Math & Science Teachers
Date7.23.09
ContactLiz Harman
Contact E-mailharman, at sandiego.edu
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The University of San Diego has been awarded a $900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program to help combat the shortage of mathematics and science teachers.

The grant will fund scholarships and provide mentoring and other support for students, especially those from underrepresented minority groups, to pursue careers in teaching. 

“We are excited to have this opportunity to help boost the numbers of math and science teachers in San Diego and southern California where the shortage is particularly acute,” said Eric Page, a USD assistant professor of physics and the lead author of the grant.

The five-year grant will add 12 highly skilled new public high school teachers to the southern California region and help place them in schools where they are especially needed. Recruitment will begin shortly for the first two students to start this fall. Four more will begin in 2010 and six in 2011. Students who receive the scholarships will commit to teach for up to six years in high-need high schools.

Each student chosen is eligible to receive up to $22,500 in scholarship support for up to three years including the junior or senior year of undergraduate study in science or math, followed by one year of study for a master’s degree. USD’s Office of Student Affairs also will contribute $72,000 to provide housing for the students.

Studies show there is a critical need for math and science teachers. According to a 2005 study of local districts conducted by San Diego County’s Office of Education, the region will need 480 math teachers and 620 science teachers between 2008 and 2011, far exceeding the local capacity to recruit and train credentialed math and science teachers.

USD’s program will be a partnership between the university’s College of Arts and Sciences and School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES). At the completion of the program, USD Noyce Scholars will have earned either their Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) or Master of Education (MED) degrees.

“Our science and math departments are leaders in promoting undergraduate research and enrichment opportunities,” said Mary Boyd, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “They will help develop teachers who can inspire and excite young students to learn about the world around them.”

The teacher preparation program at USD has long prepared its students to be responsive to and effective in the richly diverse classrooms of San Diego County.

“Over the last seven years SOLES has been purposeful in strengthening our faculty capacity in the areas of math, science and technology education so that we can, in collaboration with our colleagues in USD’s mathematics and science departments, partner to prepare outstanding teaching candidates in these areas,” said Paula Cordeiro, dean of SOLES.

Other USD faculty members who worked on the grant proposal and will coordinate the program are biology professor Lisa Baird, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry Jeremy Kua, mathematics professor Jane Friedman and SOLES assistant professor Joi Spencer.

The University of San Diego is a Catholic institution of higher learning chartered in 1949; the school enrolls approximately 7,500 undergraduate and graduate students and is known for its commitment to teaching, the liberal arts, the formation of values and community service. The establishment of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies will bring the University’s total number of schools and colleges to six. Other academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of Business Administration, Education, Law and Nursing and Health Sciences.

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