Elizabeth City State University has received a $1.2 million grant to train science teachers. The grant is awarded by the National Science Foundation and, according to ECSU professor and the grant’s principal investigator, Dr. Timothy Goodale, will fund a program that produces qualified secondary science teachers that are better equipped to teach topics such as climate change and evolution.
“This project aims to recruit approximately 36 prospective students that will partake in a unique 14-month accelerated pathway to earn a master’s degree in biological sciences and at the same time train to become certified teachers in science classrooms in high-need schools,” said Dr. Goodale.
The project title is “Preparing Teachers to Address Challenging Scientific and Environmental Topics through Research, Dialogue, and Experiential Learning” and is funded through The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. Dr. Goodale along with ECSU biological sciences professors Dr. Hirendranath Banerjee and Dr. Eyualem Abebe is working with area public schools such as the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools, Perquimans County Schools, and the Northeast Academy for Aerospace and Advanced Technology.
“This program will also extend the body of knowledge on current science teacher preparation,” said Dr. Goodale.
Dr. Goodale says the project will use “unique approaches” to attract qualified and diverse students to pursue a career as a science educator. Students will be supported with up to a $20,000 scholarship to cover cost of attendance during their respective study. The Noyce Program will provide research-based training and support initiatives for students during their studies and during their first two years of teaching. The project will also identify, prepare and compensate mentor teachers to work with ECSU students who will serve as role models for best practices.
To support future science teachers the Noyce Program will initiate reforms such cross departmental “co-teaching.” Noyce Scholars will also participate in ongoing scientific research, complete course work and defend a thesis topic to earn a Master’s Degree in Biology. The Noyce students will take part in “Professional Learning Opportunities” throughout their four-year involvement and participate in training focused on environmental awareness and literacy that support their efforts to improve their teaching effectiveness.
ECSU has a rich history in teacher preparation for diverse and rural populations, all while promoting innovative STEM education. This initiative has the potential to significantly increase the number of teachers and STEM graduates to fill the void of effective science educators across the state of North Carolina.