University Communications

USI awarded more than $835,000 to recruit STEM teachers in Indiana

January 22, 2014 | John Farless
John Farless
Director of University Communications University Communications 812-228-5157
Article Photo
An Indiana STEM Teacher Recruitment Fund grant will provide scholarship opportunities for up to 90 students at USI.
Photo Credit: USI Photo Services

The University of Southern Indiana has been awarded $835,138 through the Indiana STEM Teacher Recruitment Fund grant program, part of Indiana’s Education Roundtable co-chaired by Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Glenda Ritz, state superintendent of public instruction. The grant, announced by Pence and Ritz on Wednesday at the Career Council meeting in Indianapolis, will fund USI’s proposed “Teaching Eagles Scholarship Program.” USI was one of only 10 organizations receiving grants totaling more than $9.7 million.

“Our employers tell us that tomorrow’s workers will need more STEM skills, and Indiana’s goal is to identify and encourage quality teachers to broaden our students’ learning experiences,” said Pence. “Continuing to recruit top educators and expand our students’ options will only enhance the outstanding work of our teachers, but also help our students as they make decisions about future career opportunities.”

The goal of the multiple-year Teaching Eagles program is to provide scholarship funds to qualified students in an effort to increase the number of content-rich, classroom-ready science and mathematics teacher candidates graduating from the University of Southern Indiana. The program will recruit potential science and mathematics teacher candidates from a large pool of students majoring in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields as well as elementary education majors interested in minoring in mathematics or science. A total of 90 scholarships will be awarded and will provide tuition support for selected coursework leading to teacher licensure. Application information will be available in late January and selection of participants will begin in late February.

“We’re excited to receive this grant which will provide scholarship opportunities for outstanding USI students interested in teaching science and mathematics at the K-12 level,” said Dr. Scott Gordon, dean of USI’s Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education. “USI has a rich history of producing strong STEM majors and outstanding K-12 classroom teachers, and this grant award will allow us to develop a cutting edge program to provide unique opportunities and financial support for these students.”

Students completing the Teaching Eagles program will be prepared to teach specific STEM disciplines in grades K-12, and serve Indiana school corporations with the greatest need for mathematics and science teachers. Teaching Eagles participants will receive partial scholarships, mentoring, and multiple support services. A unique component of this program is the ability of students to gain valuable experience and contacts through the variety of camps, competitions, and activities of the Southwest Indiana STEM Resource Center (SwISTEM), housed within USI’s Pott College.

USI has more than 2,400 students majoring in either STEM disciplines or teacher education programs. However, like most institutions around the country, the number of students pursuing high-need STEM teaching degrees and licensure is low. Teaching Eagles will help reverse this trend and increase the quality and quantity of STEM educators through a variety of recruitment and retention strategies. 

“We hope to show that this program can be a model across the State, and even the United States, to produce highly qualified STEM educators in a cost-effective manner,” Gordon said. “Essentially, students selected for and successfully completing this program will obtain a minor, teaching license, and valuable hands-on teaching and learning experiences at a much reduced cost.”

Specific goals of the Teaching Eagles Scholarship Program include:

  • Providing appropriate pedagogical preparation for students majoring in STEM content areas such as engineering, biology, chemistry, environmental science, geology, mathematics, or science and mathematics teaching.
  • Providing appropriate STEM content preparation for students majoring in elementary education.
  • Providing content specific supplemental support experiences for both elementary and secondary teacher candidates.
  • Providing co-curricular service learning opportunities.
  • Providing a learning community for emerging STEM teachers.

To learn more about the Teaching Eagles Scholarship Program contact the Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education at 812-464-1977 or rhudson@usi.edu. Media inquiries should be directed to sgordon@usi.edu.

University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Boulevard
Evansville, Indiana 47712 Phone 812/464-8600
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