INDIANAPOLIS -- IUPUI and other partner institutions have received over a half million dollars from the state to support the education of science teachers in Indiana.
The Hoosier STEM Academy, a partnership of IUPUI, Ball State University and Purdue University, was recently awarded $602,000 from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education's STEM Teacher Recruitment Fund. The award is a portion of the $9.6 million recently distributed to 16 Indiana organizations and colleges in support of programs that recruit, prepare, place and retain educators in schools with teacher shortages in the STEM subject areas of science, technology, engineering and math.
The portion allotted to IUPUI will enable the campus to cover tuition for up to 14 students pursuing degrees in secondary school science and math education, as well as stipends for up to eight current high school science and math teachers pursuing graduate coursework in order to teach dual-credit college courses in high school.
At IUPUI, the Hoosier STEM Academy is co-administered by the School of Education and the School of Science. Grant co-leaders are Paula A. Magee, a clinical professor in the IU School of Education at IUPUI, and Kathleen A. Marrs, an associate professor of biology at the School of Science at IUPUI and interim executive associate dean at the IUPUI Honors College.
"IUPUI is excited to receive this award from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education in recognition of the work we continue to do with Indiana STEM teachers," Magee said. "In line with the mission of IUPUI, receiving this award will allow us to continue to support critically minded and equity-focused STEM teachers. It also allows us to continue to diversify the Indiana STEM teacher workforce by recruiting and offering pathways to licensure for teachers of color and historically underrepresented groups."
The goal of the Hoosier STEM Academy is to address the teacher shortage in Indiana in the STEM fields by recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers to work in underserved urban and rural communities across the state. The academy provides funding for teachers to complete necessary coursework to earn an initial secondary teaching license, teach dual-credit STEM courses and extend elementary mathematics content knowledge.
Strengthening the number of qualified STEM teachers is especially important in Indiana because the state is facing a shortage of teachers in these fields, despite employers' rising demands for these skills, Marrs said. In Indiana alone, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that STEM jobs rose 13.7 percent from 2009 to 2015, and overall STEM employment across the U.S. is projected to grow nearly 8 percent from 2020 to 2030. The bureau also reports that 93 out of every 100 STEM jobs pay wages significantly above the national average.
"Finding ways to support our well-qualified and diverse STEM teacher candidates, and provide opportunities for continued learning as new teachers, will help our K-12 students learn, thrive and be successful in STEM, which is so important to Indiana's future success," Marrs said.
The partnership of IUPUI, Ball State and Purdue under the Hoosier STEM Academy is a continuation of the three campuses' partnership under the Indiana Teaching Fellowship program, administered by the Institute for Citizens and Scholars of Princeton, N.J., which ran from 2009 to 2016. Over seven years, this earlier partnership prepared more than 250 STEM teachers to teach in Indiana.
Additional programs funded under the latest round of the STEM Teacher Recruitment Fund include Growing Tomorrow's STEM Teachers and the Southeast Indiana STEM Project 2.0. All three programs are also a part of IU's Advance College Project, an IU-led initiative launched in 2018 to address then-new requirements for duel-credit course instructors across Indiana.