FHSU Gets Rural STEM Teaching Grant

STEM teachers, those teaching science, technology, engineering, and math in rural areas will benefit from grant funding received by Fort Hays State University.

According to the school, the FHSU College of Education’s grant submission, “Science Teachers for Rural America – A Post-Baccalaureate STEM Teacher Licensure Project,” was awarded $1.2 million because of its innovative approach to creating a new and accelerated pathway to a teaching license for individuals who hold bachelor’s degree, and want to answer the call to serve as a teacher.

“It is my view that the future of western Kansas – the future of much of rural Kansas – is determined by what happens at Fort Hays State University,” said U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, who attended the news conference. “This is one more example of this university stepping forward and making a difference across our region of Kansas.”

Dr. Tisa Mason, FHSU president, gave some introductory remarks. Dr. Paul Adams, dean of the College of Education, then took the podium to discuss how the university would use the funding to create a new and accelerated pathway to a teaching license for individuals with a bachelor’s degree.

Adams described the FHSU STEM licensure project as one that would focus on addressing the shortage of science teachers in rural Kansas by partnering with rural schools to respond to their unique needs.

Candidates for the program are individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree in a science content area (biology, geoscience, chemistry, or physics) who are looking to make a career change and enter the teaching profession. Candidates who enroll in the program will receive a stipend of approximately $23,000. The stipend is designed to cover the cost of completing the program but can also offset the financial burden for participants who may be relocating to the rural communities for field experiences.

Program coursework will be targeted at preparing future teachers for dealing with the unique circumstances of teaching math and science in rural schools. Many rural STEM teachers are required to teach multiple STEM disciplines and multiple grade levels. Courses within the program will also emphasize place-based teaching strategies to prepare participants to use their local environment and community as a resource in teaching across the STEM spectrum