A new partnership will foster the next generation of highly skilled STEM teachers.
Bevill State Community College has partnered with the College of Natural Science and Mathematics and the College of Education at the University of West Alabama, in addition to Coastal Alabama Community College on Project INSPIRE – Implementing Novel STEM Practices in Rural Education.
INSPIRE is a Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program funded by a $1.38 million grant funded by the National Science Foundation. The program is a response to the critical need for K-12 teachers in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The goal of the Noyce Scholarship Program is to encourage talented STEM students and professionals to pursue teaching careers.
“Bevill State Community College recognizes the critical need in our region for highly qualified STEM educators,” said Dr. Leslie Hartley, dean of instruction for BSCC. “We are proud to be a part of this partnership in working toward a solution.”
Project INSPIRE will offer two-year scholarships to select rising juniors in STEM programs who wish to pursue teacher certification. In addition to scholarship support, Noyce scholars will be paired with outstanding master teachers in the region and take part in a variety of enrichment activities to enhance their preparation.
The goal of INSPIRE is to help transform STEM education in the region by developing a pipeline of skilled and motivated instructors. Participants in the program will engage in coursework on STEM teaching methods, instructional technology, classroom management and diversity, with opportunities to present their work at professional conferences.
In addition to scholarship support for undergraduates, INSPIRE will provide a small number of stipends annually to support STEM professionals or recent STEM graduates who wish to return to UWA as INSPIRE fellows and complete the Alternative Class A Certification Program in a STEM field. Fellows will join the undergraduate scholars in the enrichment activities provided by INSPIRE.
INSPIRE undergraduate scholarships will provide up to $14,000 of annual support for Noyce scholars, while INSPIRE fellows will receive $16,700 in support of their graduate study. Scholars and fellows must agree to teach for at least two years in a regional, rural school system in return for each year of financial support received.
The project allows for a total of 20 individual scholarships and 13 stipends over five years for those pursuing STEM careers.
There are three primary goals of Project INSPIRE, including building workforce, creating mentoring opportunities and creating post-secondary pathways for STEM teachers.
Project coordinators expect INSPIRE to aid in increasing the number and quality of certified STEM teachers entering the workforce through scholarship incentives. INSPIRE will develop a collaborative mentoring environment between program participants and clinical master teachers. Long term, the project will help create an induction program for INSPIRE graduates to continue developing subject matter comprehension and pedagogical practices after graduation and certification.
“At UWA, we strive to develop curriculum and opportunities that best prepare our students for long-term success,” said UWA Provost Tim Edwards. “Our faculty works diligently to ensure that curriculum aligns with the careers and even the challenges that graduates will face in the workforce. They are committed to developing these pathways that will guide our students to success. This is a perfect example of preparing our students for the meaningful work that they will do for many years to come.”
To learn more about Project INSPIRE, contact Nancy Earnest at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-648-3271, ext. 5637.