Monday, August 03, 2015

UTSA receives $1.4M to help community college students pursue teaching

teachers in classroom

GE2MS teachers in the classroom

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(Oct. 17, 2013) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio has been awarded a $1.4 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to assist community college students seeking to pursue teaching degrees in mathematics and science.

The funding will help support the UTSA Generating Educational Excellence in Math & Science (GE2MS) teaching program which prepares students to become highly qualified science and mathematics teachers in San Antonio and surrounding school districts in need. Through the program, students take an enriched instructional curriculum in four years and earn a math or science degree along with their teaching credentials. Currently, 162 students are enrolled in the program. Nearly one hundred percent of its graduates find teaching employment in the San Antonio area.

Under the new grant, community college students transferring to UTSA will be eligible to receive up to $20,000 in Noyce scholarships if they agree to teach at least four years at a high needs school district in the San Antonio area.

The UTSA multidisciplinary team involved in acquiring the grant included Aaron Cassill, UTSA director of STEM Initiatives and principal investigator; co-principal investigators Gloria Crisp, associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies; and Lorena Claeys, executive director of the Academy for Teacher Excellence in the UTSA College of Education and Human Development (COEHD); and Daniel Sass, associate professor in the College of Business Department of Management Science and Statistics. Additionally, Claudia Verdin from Northwest Vista College will act as coordinator for the Alamo Colleges.

"We looked at our current graduates in the GE2MS program and found that more than half of them started at a community college and then transferred," said Cassill. "Normally, we recruit students their freshman year and give them actual classroom experience so they can decide if they want to pursue a career in teaching. The community college students were missing out on this experience, so with this new grant we will offer introductory classes at the community colleges to help smooth the transition before the students transfer."

According to Cassill, local school districts can spend millions of dollars annually trying to recruit 200-250 math and science teachers from outside Texas to fill high-need teaching positions. The NSF Noyce scholarships will help UTSA recruit teaching candidates from a pool of more than 70,000 community college students.

To ensure a successful community college student transfer experience, the UTSA College of Sciences has enlisted the expertise of the COEHD Academy for Teacher Excellence (ATE). Since 2003, ATE has received more than $17 million in funding and was nationally recognized in 2012 as an Example of Excelencia finalist for preparing teachers to teach in culturally diverse settings.

"After the students transfer, we will be providing sessions on 21st century skills and traditional strategies for success as well as sessions so students can learn more about themselves, their strengths and how they can become better problem solvers," said Claeys. "Additionally, we will provide them with career transitioning guidance, tutoring and mentoring that can help them overcome personal or academic challenges they may face as students and as they begin their teaching careers. Through previous grants, the ATE has utilized this combination of support systems, which have proven successful in novice teacher retention."

Crisp's role for the COEHD Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies will be to carry out research on how mentoring and support assist transfer students in becoming top-quality teachers. That information will be used to create a model program that can be replicated nationally to increase the number and quality of math and science teachers.

>> To apply or to learn more, visit the Noyce Scholarships website.

 

 

Did You Know?

For acclaimed UTSA writer, poetry rhymes with life

Robert Penn Warren said: “How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.” That is certainly true for Carmen Tafolla. An associate professor of practice with the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, Tafolla has authored more than 20 acclaimed books of poetry and prose, including "The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans." It won the Tom´s Rivera Children’s Book Award in 2009.

Tafolla is a San Antonio native who grew up on the West Side. Attending a private high school, she realized that the literature did not positively portray her community or the people who lived there. She determined to change that in her writing. In published works for both adults and children — more than 200 anthologies, magazines, journals, textbooks and readers in four languages — Tafolla reflects on the rich Mexican-American culture of San Antonio in which she grew up.

Did you know? Tafolla was San Antonio's first Poet Laureate, from 2012 to 2014, and currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Texas.

Read More »
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Aug. 4, 6 - 8 p.m.

Free Teacher Tuesday: Los Tejanos Workshop

Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
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6th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium

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Vaquerocation 2015

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Aug. 17, 11:30 p.m.

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Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Convocation Center lawn for his annual free BBQ lunch.
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Aug. 22, 6 p.m.

UTSA Alumni Gala

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Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.


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