RIT and Cal State promote science and math education

October 21, 2005

A unique program, funded by the National Science Foundation, will bring students from New York's Rochester Institute of Technology to California State University San Marcos to earn their teaching credentials. When they have completed their training, they will help to fill the need for highly qualified mathematics and science teachers.

Professors Joseph Keating and Pat Stall from Cal State and Eileen Marron, assistant dean of the College of Science at RIT, developed the proposal and will manage the program.

Thousands of science teachers will be retiring across the nation during the next few years, Marron says, and RIT and Cal State see the collaboration as an effective solution to getting more highly qualified math and science teachers into high school classrooms.

"Nationwide, but especially in urban settings, the highest need is for highly qualified math and science teachers. That's the biggest shortage we have," Stall notes.

Local universities produce between 45 and 70 math teachers each year, a number far below the needs of local schools. "We're looking for a way to recruit additional people," Stall says. "This collaboration with RIT seemed a natural partnership."

Marron adds that in a recent program, RIT placed students as mentors in local classes, and about one-third of them chose to become teachers.

"Clearly there was something about education that caught their interest and we need to work to promote this desire to explore teaching as a career," Marron says.

Students who have completed technical studies at RIT will be supported with $7,500 per year to pay for their tuition, fees and assistance with living expenses while they complete their teaching credential at Cal State San Marcos.

Beginning in January 2006, students at RIT will sign up for the program and take prerequisite courses on campus taught by Professor Joseph Keating of Cal Sate. Students will also train in Rochester area schools to gain field experience. Upon completion of their RIT degree, they will relocate to Cal State to receive their teaching certification.

"This program provides a pathway for those who wish to apply their scientific education to teaching," Marron says.

The project will be funded through a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation's Robert Noyce Scholarship Program.

Rochester Institute of Technology

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