Hoosier STEM Academy awarded $602K to recruit STEM teachers

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Hoosier STEM Academy, a partnership of IUPUI, Ball State and Purdue University, was recently awarded $602,000 from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s STEM Teacher Recruitment Fund.

The award is merely 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 STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teacher shortages.

“We are grateful to the Commission for Higher Education for the opportunity to continue to provide needed coursework, programming, and services to support STEM growth in underserved communities,” said Ball State’s Kizmin Jones, director of the Hoosier STEM Academy, in a press release. “This grant will give STEM educators the support needed to continue to serve their students well.”

Schools within the Hoosier STEM Academy already have plans on how to use their allotted portion of the award. IUPUI, for example, will use their portion to cover tuition for 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.

“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,” said Paula Magee, a clinical professor in the IU School of Education at IUPUI and a grant co-leader, in a press release. “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 help address the teacher shortage in Indiana, especially STEM teachers, by recruiting and retaining teachers to work in communities across the state. According to Kathleen Marrs, an associate professor of biology at the School of Science at IUPUI and grant co-leader, strengthening the number of qualified STEM teachers is not only important for the shortage, but also due to the increasing demand for STEM skills.

“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.

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