For over thirty years, teachers, administrators, business leaders and policymakers have expressed concern about the competitiveness of U.S. students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) areas. Although national and state policies have emphasized STEM education, progress has been slow. A major component of increasing students’ STEM achievement is raising the quantity and quality of teachers in STEM fields. The Indiana General Assembly established the Indiana STEM Teacher Recruitment Fund in 2013 to award competitive grants to programs and initiatives that work to bolster the overall quality of STEM instruction in Indiana and advance student interest and knowledge in STEM fields.
The Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) and the Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) are continuing the successful initiative STEM Teach, now in its fifth adaptation. STEM Teach VI will expand on the achievements and successes of previous iterations of the initiative to focus on advanced degrees and/or certificates and professional development, for Indiana educators.
The primary concentration of funds will be for Indiana high school teachers who need graduate level courses in STEM discipline areas to meet the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) requirement for teaching dual credit courses. This opportunity includes:
- Tuition and textbooks/materials for teachers to complete 18 graduate level credits in a specific content area. Online graduate courses from participating institutions will be offered in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics, psychology, and technology/IT. Once 18 graduate credits are earned, STEM Teach V will also help to fund the completion of a master’s degree.
Three additional opportunities for STEM Teach VI for all Indiana K-12 teachers include:
- Tuition and textbooks/materials to complete a master’s or graduate certificate in STEM education from a participating higher education institution
- Scholarships for teachers to attend STEM-based conferences in Indiana
- Professional development and supplies to infuse STEM into daily classroom activities
We have designed STEM Teach VI to offer ICI members and public institutions the opportunity to work together to increase the number of dual-credit teachers of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in Indiana. Tuition and books/materials for these courses will be offered at no cost to teachers in Indiana by utilizing funds available through the STEM Teacher Recruitment Fund to pay colleges and universities.
Graduate courses will be offered in the following semesters: Fall 2023, Winter/Spring 2024, Summer 2024, Fall 2024, Winter/Spring 2025 & Summer 2025 (as funding allows). Since teachers from all regions of Indiana are eligible to apply, an online course format for graduate level courses is the method of course delivery preferred by teachers due to their various locations, time zones, and school schedules. Courses will be offered in an online only, synchronous or asynchronous approach. Synchronous courses will be offered in a time frame that is conducive to a full-time teacher’s schedule.
In-service teachers may begin applying for acceptance into the program through an online application in October of 2021. Teachers who successfully completed courses in STEM Teach III, IV or V will not need to reapply for this opportunity. Registration for courses for teachers accepted into the program are available based on each teacher’s priority status and will occur several months before each semester begins.
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Investing in the Future
“In order for Indiana to remain competitive in the global economy, we need a strong pipeline of students pursuing an education in STEM fields,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Chris Lowery. “That pipeline begins in high school through dual credit courses, providing students with valuable college-level experiences and transferable credit.”