De Pere, Wis.: The state of Wisconsin has a shortage of math and science teachers, so St. Norbert College and NWTC, along with Green Bay Area Public Schools, are hoping to do something about it.
The National Science Foundation has awarded St. Norbert College a one-year $118,000 capacity-building grant for a project entitled, “Creating a Minor in Education as a Pathway for Science, Math or Computer Science Majors to Obtain Teaching Licensure.”
St. Norbert, in partnership with Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) and the Green Bay Area Public School District, will collaborate to increase the number of highly qualified, diverse STEM-committed students choosing and completing STEM education programs at St. Norbert.
“This is an extremely timely and important collaboration between the STEM disciplines and teacher education at St. Norbert, and between SNC and NWTC,” said David Bailey, divisional dean of natural sciences and professor of biology at St. Norbert.
“Given the shortage of math and science teachers at all levels in the state of Wisconsin, the addition of this pathway will ensure a balance between the broadened Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s licensure requirements and St. Norbert’s mission and long-standing commitment to the development of content knowledge and community engagement to meet the diverse needs among Wisconsin students,” Bailey added.
The goal of the project is to develop a strong external partnership with NWTC that leads to transfer students choosing STEM education at St. Norbert as well as strengthening existing urban community partnerships with K-12 schools and developing additional rural and suburban K-12 school partnerships.
“We are thrilled for this opportunity to work with our partners at St. Norbert College toward our shared goal in providing clear career paths for students,” said
Kathryn Rogalski, NWTC vice president of learning. “STEM students often leverage their versatile background to become instructors, though many do not have a direct pathway to obtain a teaching license. This grant will allow NWTC to develop a track to recruit students to begin in the Laboratory Science Technology program and transfer into a STEM education program,” said Rogalski.
St. Norbert will create a STEM teaching minor for students who decide to pursue teaching later in their college careers, including students who are recruited into STEM teaching from a STEM major, and students who transfer from NWTC’s Laboratory Science Technology program while still graduating in four years. The minor will begin with a foundational course that will focus on community-engaged teaching, including field experience in a Green Bay area public school.
The grant is part of the National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, which seeks to encourage talented science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors and professionals to become K-12 mathematics and science (including engineering and computer science) teachers. The program invites creative and innovative proposals that address the critical need for recruiting and preparing highly effective elementary and secondary science and mathematics teachers in high-need local educational agencies.