The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Lynchburg a $1.4 million grant to help prepare science and math teachers who can reach more students.
The grant, part of the NSF Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, will provide scholarship money and institutional support for 22 undergraduate students who will major in biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, or mathematics and also minor in secondary education as they earn teacher certification.
Students admitted to the program will have experiential teaching opportunities, advising, mentoring, and workshops to prepare them for teaching students with learning or developmental disabilities and from culturally diverse backgrounds. The students will commit to teaching in high-need school districts for two years after graduation.
The faculty involved in the five-year program also will study the process and outcomes to determine the most effective methods in educating STEM teachers.
“We are committed to preparing effective science and math teachers, and this grant will allow us to take that commitment to the next level,” Dr. Allison Jablonski, provost-elect, said. “Our work will help our students become more effective teachers who can then help others reach their utmost potential. But we also hope it will have statewide and national impact in STEM education by providing models for more effective teacher preparation.”
The program involves several partners from the Lynchburg region, including Central Virginia Community College, the nonprofit Beacon of Hope, and the school districts in the City of Lynchburg and counties of Amherst, Bedford, and Campbell. Students can enroll in the program by entering the University of Lynchburg directly out of high school or by attending CVCC and transferring.
The University will begin enrolling the first cohort of five students for the fall semester of 2019. Interested students may visit www.lynchburg.edu/undergraduate-admission to apply, or can contact for more information on the scholarship program.
Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine commended the project Wednesday. “With national and local STEM teacher shortages, this funding could not come at a better time for our Commonwealth,” the Senators said in a joint statement. “We are thrilled that this project will help equip future STEM teachers with the training they need to teach students with disabilities, while also working to make sure that educators better reflect the diverse communities they serve.”
The project is officially titled “Preparing Secondary STEM Teachers for Success in Teaching Students with Disabilities and from Diverse Backgrounds.” An initial amount of $1.2 million has been approved, and the remaining funds will be available for release after an evaluation of the project in four years. For more information about the award, visit the NSF website.