January 11, 2016  

3 grants awarded to Purdue to bolster STEM education

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University has received three state grants totaling more than $1.1 million to support programs designed to boost the recruitment and retention of teachers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

The grants, announced Wednesday (Jan. 6) by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, were awarded through the STEM Teacher Recruitment Fund, which was created in 2013 by the state General Assembly.

Purdue’s grant title, amount awarded and principal investigator include:

* “Creating a STEM Community of Practice to support STEM Teacher Retention in Indiana”; $738,228; Steven Abel, associate vice president for engagement.

* “Strengthening Indiana’s Future through the 21st  Century STEM Teachers Scholarship Program”; $238,990, Lynn Bryan, a professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and Department of Physics and Astronomy.

* “Growing the Pipeline for Agricultural Education Teachers in Indiana”; $132,729; B. Allen Talbert, professor of youth development and agricultural education and curriculum and instruction.

The community of practice grant is a partnership among the I-STEM Resource Network at Purdue, four higher education institutions (University of Southern Indiana, Indiana-University Purdue University Fort Wayne, University of Notre Dame and Butler University) and 11 public school districts. The proposal will develop a support and training system in which STEM teachers with five or fewer years of teaching experience will be mentored within their district.

Jennifer Hicks, I-STEM science program manager, said the project would aid in retention efforts by providing critical support, helping teachers implement STEM instructional practices in their classrooms, and providing an online platform that would support interaction and sharing of resources among teachers.

The project spearheaded by Bryan aims to expand the number and diversity of students pursuing careers in K-12 STEM teaching by creating a scholarship program. Under the proposal, 15 recipients would complete a plan of study in STEM disciplines that leads to state teaching licensure and includes a 12-credit-hour certificate program to further enhance instructional skills for STEM integration.

Talbert’s project seeks to expand on a 2013 STEM Teacher Recruitment Fund Grant that launched an agricultural education program to recruit and retain teachers in collaboration with two Ivy Tech campuses and Vincennes University. The program is geared toward those seeking to teach secondary agricultural science classes. With the most recent grant, Talbert plans to expand the program to all seven Ivy Tech campuses that offer agricultural instruction. Established objectives include a comprehensive recruitment and retention plan and a model that utilizes a curriculum pathway, distance-based education, a peer-to-peer mentoring community, a learning community for current students seeking to teach in the field, and a teacher mentoring program. 

Sources: Jennifer Hicks, hicks12@purdue.edu

Lynn A. Bryan, labryan@purdue.edu

B. Allen Talbert, btalbert@purdue.edu 

Related news release:

Indiana Commission for Higher education news release announcing grant recipients: http://www.in.gov/che/files/160106_PressRelease_STEMteacherGrantWinners.pdf

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