Ithaca College Receives National Science Foundation Grant to Address Teacher Shortages in Science and Math

ITHACA, NY — According to a 2007 Business-Higher Education Forum report, there will be a shortfall of more than 280,000 math and science teachers nationwide by 2015. This negative impact on the ability of American students to think critically in science, technology, engineering and math will be felt most in high-needs school districts. To answer this challenge, five faculty members from the physics, math and education departments at Ithaca College have obtained a five-year, $1.2 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to support the Ithaca College Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, which will prepare 18 undergraduates for careers teaching physics and math in high-need school districts in central New York, New York City and Washington, D.C.

“This program will help address the critical shortage of science and math educators by creating a group of teachers who can take leadership roles and inspire future generations of teachers,” said Michael “Bodhi” Rogers, associate professor of physics and principal investigator. “The focus on integrating research and education, coupled with strong mentoring, will build the infrastructure to support long-term efforts in sending more teachers to teach grades 7 to 10 in high-need schools.

Undergraduates will be recruited for the program from the time they are admitted to Ithaca College through their junior years. Selection will be based on academic achievement, leadership qualities and commitment to teaching. In addition to courses that link the content of their math and physics instruction to the K–12 curriculum, potential Noyes scholars will also take part in paid summer internships and field experiences at six central New York school districts to determine their interest and comfort in a classroom setting.

Selected during their junior years, successful candidates will attend a summer workshop that will provide opportunities to discuss instructional strategies and classroom management techniques with their fellow scholars and faculty mentors. Noyes scholars will also attend professional conferences and engage in educational research that will give them a strong foundation in current teaching practices. The scholars will receive tuition stipends during their senior years as well as a stipend for the college’s 13-month Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program, which will lead to their initial teaching certification. Faculty mentoring will continue through the first four years of the scholars’ teaching careers, a time period when many teachers change career paths.

“In order to teach effectively in a high-need school, prospective teachers need to have a deep knowledge of their discipline, a strong understanding of how to best use that knowledge in the classroom and expertise working with a diverse student body,” Rogers said. “The Noyce Scholarship program at Ithaca College will provide students with experience to develop these much needed skills.”

The coprincipal investigators of the grant are faculty members David Brown and Aaron Weinberg (Department of Mathematics); Linda Hanrahan (Department of Education); and Matthew Price (Department of Physics). All departments are located in the Ithaca College School of Humanities and Sciences.

For more information, contact Michael “Bodhi” Rogers at (607) 274-3963 or