Thursday, August 29, 2013

Whitworth awarded $162,000 from National Science Foundation for STEM program development


Whitworth University has been awarded a Robert Noyce Capacity Building grant from the National Science Foundation. This two-year, $162,000 grant will be used to develop a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) track in the Master in Teaching and Evening Teacher Certification programs for graduates with STEM degrees who want to teach. The grant will also be used to develop internships for undergraduates who wish to teach science in non-classroom environments at partner organizations such as Mobius, Girl Scouts of the Inland Northwest, and Spokane-area high schools and middle schools.

The grant represents Whitworth’s strong partnership with District 81, North Central High School’s Institute for Science and Technology, the Mead School District, Riverpoint Academy, Spokane Valley Tech, Central Valley, East Valley, West Valley Freeman Districts and Mary Walker Districts, Mobius, Girl Scouts of the Inland Northwest and Communities in the Schools.

“We are thrilled that Whitworth has received this grant because of the many opportunities it provides for the School of Education and STEM faculty to collaborate in designing programs to recruit and train future STEM teachers,” said Barbara Sanders, interim dean for the School of Education at Whitworth. “This grant has the potential to have far-reaching impact on many K-12 students.”

Lynn Noland, director of sponsored programs at Whitworth, says the overall purpose of the grant is to create infrastructure necessary to develop a strong STEM teacher-training program. As such, Whitworth faculty will have the opportunity to visit exemplary STEM teacher-education programs and to apply what they learn to the programs that will be developed with this grant. Faculty will share what they learn through summer workshops, and use the experiences to design training procedures and internships for education students.

In 2015, Whitworth will apply for a larger Robert Noyce Teaching Scholarship grant from the NSF; this grant would be used to implement programs developed with the capacity building grant. The second grant would also provide scholarships for graduate-level students seeking to teach STEM subjects in middle and high schools and funds for paid internships for freshman and sophomores who are exploring careers in teaching.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Barbara Sanders, interim dean for the School of Education, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4763 or bsanders@whitworth.edu.

Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or lbeechinor@whitworth.edu.