KENNESAW — If you have a degree in science, engineering or technology and are considering a teaching career, Kennesaw State University is looking for you.
The university’s new program, called the I-IMPACT Noyce II, is designed to draw and mentor talented science professionals to teach STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects in public schools.
KSU has created two Robert Noyce Scholarship programs designed to recruit and retain teachers. The programs are specially designed for STEM professionals looking to become secondary physics or chemistry teachers, and current teachers looking to further develop as teacher-leaders.
“The purpose is two-fold. One is to increase the number of highly qualified chemistry and physics teachers teaching at the secondary level in our state, and along with that is to develop a stronger pipeline from the science and math professions into teaching as second careers,” said Dr. Greg Rushton, director of the I-IMPACT program.
“The second purpose would be to develop teacher-leaders out of existing chemistry and physics teachers.”
The teaching fellows track is for people who are employed or have been employed as professionals in STEM fields and who are interested in the 14-month master of arts in teaching program for physics and chemistry at KSU. They must hold an undergraduate degree in a STEM field and have worked in a STEM field.
The master teaching fellows track is aimed at experienced physics and chemistry teachers who are interested in a professional development. Participants must be invited to submit their applications by school and district STEM supervisors. They’re also required to commit to teach for four to five years in a high needs school system.
The master teaching fellows will be selected from public school districts in Cobb, Atlanta, Gwinnett, DeKalb and Paulding counties, Rushton said.
“We’re hoping that they’ll go back into one of these partner districts,” he said. “Those two (teaching tracks) will hopefully interact to a large extent.”
Participants in both programs receive $10,000 annual stipends during the five-year program, which includes a professional development period. Additional money is available for graduate tuition, professional development, memberships in professional organizations, travel and classroom supplies.
The program is made possible by a $2.84 million grant received last fall from the National Science Foundation and $1.4 million in matching funds from KSU.
Recruiting for the program is going on now, and the 16 students who are selected (eight from each teaching track) will begin studying in January.
“In Georgia, there is a tremendous need for teachers in general, but particularly for STEM professionals,” said Nancy Overley, program manger. “Overall, the universities and colleges are stating that, of the top-five needs in the schools, first is physics teachers and the third is chemistry teachers.”