AAMU Grant Will Help Create Pipeline of STEM Teachers
$2M Grant Will Give Rise to "2-Path" Degree
Remember your high school science and math teachers? What about the ones in middle school? Although it might take a moment to recall, chances are that an instructor in the science, technology, engineering and/or math (STEM) realm has left an indelible mark on your psyche.
Merging the best of the national UTeach model and the tried-and-true curricula already within Alabama A&M University’s College of Education, Humanities and Behavioral Sciences (CEHBS), a visionary team of faculty, deans and administrators on The Hill developed a comprehensive plan to ensure that talented and energetic STEM teachers will lead classrooms for decades to come.
The team’s proposal—spurred into conception by the partnership of the Alabama STEM Council and the UTeach Institute—was funded for a four-year $2 million Alabama Commission on Higher Education grant via its STEM Major Teacher Recruitment Initiative, modeled after the popular UTeach initiative. The funds give a green light to the formation of AAMUTeach, which will help boost the number of skilled STEM teachers in Alabama’s 7th-12th grade classrooms, according to CEHBS Dean Lena Walton and Dr. Samantha Strachan, joint founders of the new AAMUTeach.
The ambitious AAMUTeach will expand the current collaboration between education and STEM disciplines housed under three AAMU colleges: CEHBS; the College of Agricultural, Life and Natural Sciences (CALNS); and the College of Engineering, Technology and Physical Sciences (CETPS). A primary focus, admit facilitators, will be tackling the barriers that have lessened students’ willingness to pursue teaching or even a concentration in teaching as an option. Among these lingering hindrances are costs barriers, Praxis exams, as well as the impositions of internships and practicums on current jobs.
But now, however, the promising AAMUTeach program will operate from its location at 213 Carver Complex Hollings Wing, utilizing a series of master teachers, support staff, day-to-day management, hiring and evaluations, all facilitated by Dr. Nathan Blom, the “Education” co-director, and Dr. Vernessa Edwards, the “STEM” co-director.
Additionally, Dr. Lydia Davenport, director of the Center for Educator Preparation and Certification Services, has amassed extensive experience working with area public school personnel. She will serve as a bridge between AAMUTeach and the local schools, as well as the managing the field placement responsibilities of master teachers. Already aboard as P-12 partners are Madison City and Madison County school districts.
Other key academic and staff personnel associated with AAMUTeach will help to coordinate curriculum, grant implementation, provide wholly separate AAMUTeach program advisement/monitoring, mentoring responsibilities, information technology, organizational efficiency and other areas.
Moreover, AAMUTeach conceptualizers also factored in new and existing recruitment and retention efforts, including grants to help defray cost associated with apprentice teaching, eligibility for other scholarships, Praxis exam support, health and mental counseling, and even payment of select expenses and fees.
As the state’s largest historically black college/university (HBCU), AAMU also claims distinctions for its large pool of minority STEM majors and graduates. Following a seven-month planning period, the AAMUTeach program will launch full-force toward granting student participants equally rigorous Bachelor of Science degrees in biology, chemistry, math and physics, along with the added value of a secondary STEM teacher certification by the State of Alabama.
The AAMUTeach program is planning a formal launch event in early April 2023. For additional information about AAMUTeach, contact Dr. Nathan Blom at (256) 372-5520 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Jerome Saintjones
[CAPTION: Second photo captures the NOYCE scholars, a wholly separate STEM program, offered under the auspices of the College of Engineering, Technology, and Physical Sciences with partners in the College of Education, Humanities, and Behavioral Sciences and the College of Agricultural, Life and Natural Sciences.also offered under the auspices of the College of Education, Humanities and Behavioral Sciences.]