Texas Tech Receives National Science Foundation Funding for New Teaching Program

Texas Tech University has received $740,275 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to bring more math and science majors into teaching.

Funding for the five-year program creates the Texas Tech Noyce Scholars (TTNS) program. By providing financial incentives, the program hopes to lure math and science majors into Texas classrooms. Out of 103 universities that applied for this nationally-competitive grant, Texas Tech is one of only 20 to receive Noyce Scholars funding.

"Due to a state-wide teacher shortage, many schools must use teachers who are not highly qualified in the areas of math and science. With this grant, we can begin a program to focus on a different pool of talent with hopes those students will enter the teaching field," said Guy Bailey, Texas Tech president.

Once students finish the program, they must teach for four years in what are known as high-need schools.

"The high need classification means that a school may be forced to have the history teacher, for example, teach math or chemistry," said Jerry Dwyer, program director and assistant professor of mathematics and statistics. "That individual may be an excellent history teacher, but he or she lacks a thorough background in math or science. A student majoring in math or one of the sciences is highly qualified in their area. With this program, we can provide the teaching qualifications they need to move into the classroom."

Texas Tech will recruit 26 upper-level undergraduate students from mathematics and science for a two-year K-12 experience. Each student will receive a $20,000 stipend. In addition, 10 lower-level undergraduates will participate each year in summer K-12 programs designed to facilitate their induction into K-12 secondary teaching careers. 

Long-established collaborations between Texas Tech's math and science departments and the College of Education made this grant a natural for the university, Dwyer said.

"This program is perfect for Texas Tech," he said. "We have several different interdisciplinary programs that laid the groundwork for us to receive this funding."

Faculty members Dwyer, Victoria Howle, Lawrence Schovanec, and Monty Strauss from the Department of Mathematics & Statistics and Dominick Casadonte from the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry will direct the TTNS, with evaluation by Tara Stevens, faculty member in the College of Education. There also will be collaboration with Susan Talkmitt in Texas Tech's Center for the Integration of Science Education and Research, and education officials from Lubbock Independent School District with Pam Summers supervising the placement and retention of the new teachers.

Interested applicants may contact program recruiters on the website http://www.webpages.ttu.edu/jedwyer/Noyce.htm or e-mail to jerry.dwyer@ttu.edu or call (806) 742-2580 ext 230.