STEM Teaching Academy Focuses on Filling 'High Need'

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(Image courtesy of Ball State University) (Image courtesy of Ball State University)

Four Indiana colleges are joining forces to get more science, technology, engineering and math teachers in Hoosier classrooms. The Hoosier STEM Academy -- a partnership among Ball State University, IUPUI, Purdue University and Valparaiso University -- involves a transition to teaching program for STEM degree holders seeking a teaching master's degree and the Teachers Program, which helps licensed teachers complete courses to be able to teach dual-credit classes in Indiana high schools.

Academy Director Kizmin Jones, who is based at Ball State, classifies Indiana as a "high need" state for STEM teachers. She says the program, which requires participants to work three years in either underserved districts or at schools experiencing a shortage of qualified STEM teachers, serves communities of all sizes. "That's talking rural schools, that's talking city schools," she said, "there's so many schools experiencing a shortage -- to the point where, soon, they may not have the ability to offer dual-credit. They may not have the ability to offer certain science and math courses that they did in the past, which could cripple the students in the state of Indiana."

The transition to teaching Fellows Program participants receive a $30,000 stipend and Teachers Program participants receive a $1,375 stipend for every course. Jones says the program will help fill the role of the soon-to-be-expiring in the state Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows program that was first launched in Indiana in 2007. The New Jersey-based Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation is moving on to other states and winding down the Indiana version.

Jones says the Hoosier STEM Academy has drawn interest from a range of participants, including recent college graduates with STEM degrees who aren't sure which career path to take, may not want to go into a research-focused field or may not want to pursue a doctorate. "We do an extensive (process), so it's not if you sign up, it's a done deal," Jones told Inside INdiana Business. "We want to make sure they have a passion for this -- for the teaching. A passion for the students, a passion for the science or math or whatever they're teaching, so that they could be successful in the state."

You can connect to more about the Hoosier STEM Academy by clicking here.

Hoosier STEM Academy Director Kizmin Jones, who is based at Ball State, classifies Indiana as a "high need" state for STEM teachers.
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