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National Science Foundation Funds TEAAMS Noyce Project to Support STEM Teacher Preparation



FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A U of A faculty team has been awarded a $1.45 million National Science Foundation Noyce grant to prepare secondary math and science teachers to be successful in high-need school districts across the nation.

William F. McComas, Kim McComas, Laura Kent and Stephen Burgin, from the College of Education and Health Professions, and Shannon Dingman, from the mathematics department in Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, developed the successful proposal for the teaching fellowship: Teacher Enhancement of Agency and Authenticity in Mathematics and Science (TEAAMS).

“TEAAMS uniquely focuses on developing teacher and student agency — empowerment and ability in a specific domain through authentic experiences in mathematics and science,” said William McComas, the project’s principal investigator. “The goal of TEAAMS is to recruit additional teachers in the key areas of science and mathematics and increase the effectiveness and commitment of these teachers who, in turn, will be prepared to deepen their students’ involvement and success in these disciplines.”

The grant provides funding to support two cohorts of nine teaching fellows beginning in June of 2021 or 2022 to earn the Master of Arts in Teaching at the U of A. The fellowship includes paid in-state tuition and fees to support the one-year graduate degree which leads to Arkansas teacher licensure. In addition, the TEAAMS Noyce Fellows will receive a $10,000 annual stipend for each of their first four years of teaching in a qualified school district of their choice.

As part of this program, those selected will be mentored by university scientists and mathematicians, experience hands-on science and mathematics learning during Amazeum discover center summer camps, support students engaging in authentic projects in the Springdale Public Schools, and continue working with those students to create and participate in science, mathematics and engineering fairs.

“Our goal is to help the Noyce TEAAMS Fellows see themselves as scientists and mathematicians as they learn strategies to assist their future students in developing agency through engagement in authentic practices,” McComas said. “Not only do we look forward to working with these new educators but are also interested in investigating the impact of these changes in STEM teacher preparation and sharing our findings with colleagues who prepare math and science teachers.”