Campus: CSU San Marcos -- October 10, 2005

NSF Funds Cal State Program That Draws Students from Rochester Institute of Technology to Teach High School Math and Science in California

An unusual program, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), will bring students from New York's Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to California State University San Marcos to earn their teaching credential. When they have completed their training, they will teach for at least two years in local schools that need highly qualified mathematics and science teachers.

The NSF Robert Noyce Scholarship Program is funded for $125,000 per year for four years. It can support 15 students per year. Students who have completed technical studies at RIT will be supported with $7,500 per year to pay their tuition, fees and assistance with living expenses while they complete their teaching credential at Cal State San Marcos.

Beginning in January, 2006, students at RIT will sign up for the program and take several prerequisite courses taught on their campus by Cal State San Marcos education professor Joseph Keating. While taking the prerequisite courses, students will work in inner-city Rochester schools to gain field experience. Upon completion of their RIT degree, they will relocate to San Marcos.

Scholarship applications are separate from admission to the teacher credentialing program and will be awarded on a competitive basis. Applications will also be accepted from Cal State San Marcos students who are science or mathematics majors and have teaching as a career goal.

Officials at both RIT and San Marcos see the program as an unusual, if not unique, "out of the box" solution to getting more highly qualified math and science teachers into high school classrooms. Eileen Marron, assistant dean in the College of Science at RIT noted that thousands of science teachers will be retiring across the nation during the next few years. "Historically, RIT has not prepared students to be teachers," she said. "This program provides a pathway for those who wish to apply their scientific education to teaching," she added. Marron said that in a recent program, RIT placed students as mentors in local classes, and about one-third of them chose to become teachers. During the program, the RIT students helped working teachers use technology in their science courses as well as mentoring their students. "Clearly, there was something about education that caught their interest," she added. The Noyce Scholarship program also fits into federal efforts to produce more "highly qualified" math and science teachers.

At San Marcos, the program is coordinated by education professors Pat Stall and Joseph Keating. Stall noted that "nationwide, but especially in urban settings, the highest need is for highly qualified math and science teachers. That's the biggest shortage we have." Stall said that local universities produce between 45 and 70 math teachers each year, a number far below the needs of local schools. "We're looking for a way to recruit additional people," she said. "This collaboration with RIT seemed a natural partnership."

Contacts:
Stall at pstall@csusm.edu or 760-750-4386;
Keating at jkeating@csusm.edu or (760) 750-4321 or
Marron at eileen.marron@rit.edu or 585-475-7045.


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