CSU, Chico News

National Science Foundation Grant to Increase Number of Math and Science Teachers

Date: 09-24-2007

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico students will be receiving $10,000 scholarships to become math and science teachers, thanks to a new $749,180 grant from the National Science Foundation.

CSU, Chico and California State University, Sacramento are joint recipients of the grant and collaborators on the project, called Teaching Excellence in Math and Science.

The new grant will result in the University awarding 32 new scholarships over the next four years. The grant is in place until 2011.

To qualify for the scholarship, students must have a 3.0 minimum GPA and agree to teach math or science for two years at the junior high or senior high level for each year they receive a scholarship.

The Colleges of Natural Sciences and Communication and Education are jointly overseeing the CSU, Chico portion of the project, and have collaborated on other teacher recruitment projects. Over the past two years, more than $80,000 in scholarships, ranging from $500 to $2,000, have been awarded to prospective math and science teachers.

William Fisher, director of the Math and Science Education Center, and Deborah Summers, chair of the Department of Education, are CSU, Chico’s co-directors for the project. They stressed the urgency of the project by noting that California is currently producing less than half of the math and science teachers needed in the state, and that the National Center for Education Statistics has estimated that in the next decade nearly 200,000 new teachers of secondary math and science will be needed.

“We are proud of the commitment and quality of effort that our faculty have demonstrated in the area of math and science education,” said Jim Houpis, dean of the College of Natural Sciences. “We are all aware of the severe math and science education crisis that is gripping our nation, and if we are going to address this crisis, it will require leadership from our universities. Drs. Fisher and Summers and their colleagues represent this type of needed leadership,” Houpis said.

“These scholarships are essential in attracting future teachers to these critical fields,” said Phyllis Fernlund, dean of the College of Communication and Education. “Teacher shortages in mathematics and the sciences are problems in many schools, and the shortages will continue as a generation of teachers retires. The hard work and leadership of Professors Bill Fisher and Deborah Summers will benefit many students for years to come.”

CSU, Chico will be working with both the Chico Unified School District and Oroville Union High School District in implementing the project. The grant will also expand support for all math and science teachers in training with funds for laboratories and new activities.