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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 17, 2003
CONTACT: Faith Jackson
Office of University Relations
(908) 737-3410
E-mail: news@kean.edu

Kean Garners $480,000 National Science Foundation Grant to Prepare Math and Science Teachers

UNION, N.J. – A 2000 report by Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study finds that while fourth-grade students in the United States are among the best in the world with regard to their science skills, there is a tremendous decline in these abilities by the time they reach the eighth grade. One major reason for this dilemma is a lack of well-prepared middle school science and mathematics teachers, especially in areas of high socioeconomic need. Kean University will be able to improve this situation with help from a National Science Foundation grant totaling $480,200. The appropriation will help establish the Kean University Noyce Scholars Program, which will recruit and train top students from within Kean’s mathematics and science programs to become highly qualified teachers.

The initiative will fund a total of 64 scholarships in the amount of $7,850 over a four-year period. Drs. Patrick Field, Department of Biological Science; Sharon Brendzel, Department of Instruction and Educational Leadership; and Louis Beaugris, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, will co-direct the program and recruit junior-year students to enter the program, commencing in the summer session prior to their senior year of study and culminating with a teacher certification workshop the following summer. Upon graduating and successfully completing the program, participants will be required to teach mathematics or science in one of eight partnering school districts, which include Hillside, Newark, Irvington, Roselle Borough, Elizabeth, Linden, Plainfield and Perth Amboy, for a minimum of two years.

Kean’s newly established New Jersey Center for Science and Technology Education will also support the program, and all Noyce scholars will be allotted a variety of unique opportunities, incentives and rewards, including transcript annotation and the option to pursue a master’s degree when they eventually become teachers. Additionally, they will attend a series of pertinent open forums, workshops and presentations by partnering schools, benefit from a tailored curricula and lesson plans in their particular concentrations, and receive mentoring from master teachers.

The Robert Noyce Scholarship Program was established by the National Science Foundation to encourage talented science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors and professionals to become K-12 teachers in these areas of significant need. “Establishing this initiative at Kean University is part of our responsibility as the state’s leader in teacher education to alleviate the shortage of math and science teachers,” said Dr. Dawood Farahi, president of Kean University. “This is but one of the innovative projects we’re implementing to produce the best teachers of science, math and technology in the state of New Jersey.”