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NSF Grant to Boost Science Teacher Training


Fordham has received a $967,010 grant to train talented undergraduates and professionals to become adolescent science education (grades 7-12) teachers.

Awarded on Aug. 4 by the National Science Foundation, the money will go to the Fordham University/Wildlife Conservation Society Science Teacher Noyce Scholarship Program. The program will be directed by John Craven, Ph.D., associate professor of education; Deborah Luckett, Ph.D., lecturer in biology; Grace M. Vernon, Ph.D., professor of biology, and Jenell Ives, director of professional development at the Bronx Zoo. Luckett and Vernon are with the Department of Natural Sciences, which is collaborating with the Graduate School of Education and the Wildlife Conservation Society on the program.

“We are of course gratified that Fordham carried off this highly competitive National Science Foundation grant,” said Stephen Freedman, Ph.D., provost of the University and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. “Both our Graduate School of Education and biological sciences faculties are first rate, and our collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society is well designed and well executed.”

Craven, the principal investigator on the project, said he has been eyeing the grant for quite some time.

“It’s something that is overdue at Fordham, given its well-regarded status in teacher education,” he said. “Fordham offers a very competitive science education program.

“When you add the University’s connections to schools and partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), this program represents groundbreaking approaches that have been long called for in teacher education,” he added.

The grant will allow 35 science majors and professionals who hold degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to receive $9,000 annually for tuition, a $1,350 stipend for a summer internship and a mentor for guidance over the course of the five-year program.

Undergraduates will be eligible for up to three years of support beginning in their junior years. Noyce Scholars who already possess a degree in one of the STEM disciplines will receive one year or more of support to complete a master of science teaching degree. Degree holders must not have expressed intent to enter the teaching profession prior to their application into the scholarship program.

GSE began offering offer a joint program leading to a master of science degree in education and New York state initial teacher certification in adolescent science education in September 2008, thanks to a unique partnership between Fordham and the WCS, which operates the Bronx Zoo.

Noyce Scholars must commit to teaching science in a high-needs school for two years for every year of funding they receive.

“This is big, being that it comes from the National Science Foundation,” said James Hennessy, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Education. “It boosts our status as a research university. It is one of the largest grants the school has received and it recognizes the great work my colleagues have done in putting this together.”

Fordham undergraduate majors in science or graduates holding a degree in science interested in learning more about this scholarship program can contact John Craven, Ph.D., at [email protected] or (212) 636-7076.


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