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Grants to produce more math, science teachers

Looking it over

Looking it over:  Faculty members from both the School of Education and Arts & Sciences make up the team that is administering the grants. The team members include (seated, from left) Paul Heideman and Juanita Jo Matkins, and (standing, from left) Margie Mason and Virginia McLaughlin. (Photo by Erin Zagursky)

The College of William and Mary recently received nearly $2 million in grants to help prepare students to become science and math teachers in high-needs schools.

A National Science Foundation grant for $750,000 will establish the Noyce Scholars Program at the College of William and Mary, and a $1,172,507 grant from the Department of Education will establish the Teachers for a Competitive Tomorrow (TCT) Teaching Fellows Program at the College of William and Mary. The grants are being administered in a partnership between William and Mary’s School of Education and the Faculty of Arts & Sciences.

“These grants from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education make clear, once again, the College’s preeminence in training K-12 teachers,” said William and Mary President Taylor Reveley. “It’s especially good that the grants hinge on collaboration among our education, math and science faculties.”

The TCT grant will support summer research and science teaching internships for 50 undergraduate students over five years. The grant will also go toward developing three new courses in an attempt to recruit more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors into teaching. Those courses are: a freshman seminar on the importance of K-12 education to a free world, “How Students Learn,” and “Theory and Reality: Practicum in Science and Math Teaching in High-Needs Schools.” Support for TCT fellows is available beginning in the summer between their freshman and sophomore years at William and Mary. Upon graduation, the fellows will teach in high-needs schools.

The Noyce grant will support 33 students—about half undergraduates and half master’s degree students—over five years beginning in spring 2009. The fellows will receive $10,000 per academic year for up to two years (undergraduates) or for a year for the master’s degree work. Recipients will teach in high-needs public school systems for two years for each year of funding received.

“William and Mary is pleased that our science and education faculty members can be supported in their collaborative work addressing one of our nation’s most pressing educational issues: improving the quality of science education for the next generation of students,” said Carl Strikwerda, dean of Arts & Sciences.

Faculty members from both the School of Education and Arts & Sciences make up the team that is administering the grants. The team members include Paul Heideman, professor and chair of the biology department; Heather Macdonald, chancellor professor of geology; Margie Mason, professor of education; Juanita Jo Matkins, associate professor of education; and Virginia McLaughlin, dean of the School of Education and a co-principal investigator on both grants. For the Noyce grant, Heideman is the principal investigator and the others are co-principal investigators. For the TCT grant, Matkins is the principal investigator and the others are co-principal investigators.   i