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John Stewart, Editor
This issue features two articles on the Noyce Scholarship Program. The Noyce solicitation was discussed by NSF Program Officer Joan Prival in the Spring 2009 issue of this Newsletter. The full solicitation is available at http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5733. The Noyce program offers scholarships to STEM students who commit to teaching in high-need schools. The scholarship recipients are required to teach for two years in a school district with at least one high-need school for every year of scholarship support. Gay Stewart of the University of Arkansas discusses the implementation and evolution of the Noyce Program at the U of A. Gabe Popkin of the American Physical Society discusses the PhysTEC project 's Noyce program. This is the only Noyce program held by a professional society and may form a model for future programs in other STEM disciplines. Both programs have demonstrated success at encouraging STEM majors to join the teaching profession, increasing the pool of highly qualified science teachers. The programs both support undergraduate students and graduate students in Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs.
The interactions between college and university STEM departments, colleges of education, and school districts are extremely complex and change from state to state and from institution to institution. As such, it makes sense to offer these scholarships as grants to university faculty who understand and have worked with the complexities. There is one element of the Noyce program at the University of Arkansas that has been so successful that I feel it could be removed from the grant model and offered as a general national program. A student graduating with a STEM degree and committing to teaching for three years in a high-need school district could be given a Noyce scholarship to pay for an accredited Masters of Arts in Teaching program. If offered as a general scholarship program and administered nationally, this would greatly lower the barrier to teaching for many students and go a long way to alleviating the shortage of STEM teachers.
John Stewart is an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Arkansas.