LSU’s GeauxTeach Program receives $2 million endowment
POSTED: Monday, March 18, 2013 - 6:00am
UPDATED: Monday, March 18, 2013 - 6:04am
Baton Rouge, La — The National Math and Science Initiative, or NMSI, presented a check for $1 million dollars to the LSU Foundation for the GeauxTeach Math/Science teacher preparation program during a reception on Tuesday, March 12, at the LSU Memorial Tower. The donation was a result of a challenge issued by NMSI to raise $1 million in endowment to sustain and grow the GeauxTeach program. LSU alumni, corporate partners and a private foundation made gifts to support students, faculty and programmatic needs. This NMSI match has resulted in a total endowment of $2 million.
“We are extremely excited about this endowment and the positive impact that it will have on math and science education in Louisiana,” said Guillermo Ferreyra, interim dean of the LSU College of Science. “This endowment will allow us to accept more students into the GeauxTeach Math/Science program and to graduate more math and science teachers who will positively impact the children of Louisiana.”
In 1999, the Board of Regents and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education created the Blue Ribbon Commission on Teacher Quality, or BRC, to help improve teacher quality in Louisiana. Acting upon a mandate from the BRC, LSU faculty from the Colleges of Science, Human Sciences & Education, and Humanities and Social Sciences created content majors with concentrations in secondary education – now known as GeauxTeach.
In 2007, LSU was one of 13 institutions awarded a $2.4 million grant from NMSI to expand the already successful math and science component of the teacher preparation program. Today, GeauxTeach Math/Science students can pursue a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, chemistry, mathematics or physics while concurrently pursuing a concentration in the theories and methods of teaching. The program places students in K-12 classrooms as early as their freshman year and provides more intense field experiences in their junior and senior years. GeauxTeach Math/Science graduates are well prepared both in their subject matter and in their ability to transfer that knowledge to their students.
“Having the funding to provide support for students pursuing degrees in math and science education will increase the number of teachers who are prepared to be effective in the classroom,” said Laura Lindsay, dean LSU College of Human Sciences & Education. “We know, and research supports, GeauxTeach Math/Science places much-needed quality STEM teachers in the classroom.”
Prior to receiving the NMSI grant, GeauxTeach Math/Science graduated 14 students per year. With the added funding, the program increased its number of graduates to 27 in 2012. The program is slated for further growth with projections of 30 to 35 graduates per year.
LSU leads its peer NMSI institutions in recruitment drawing an average of 125 GeauxTeach Math/Science recruits annually compared to 80 at other NMSI universities. A replication of the highly regarded UTeach program at the University of Texas at Austin, GeauxTeach Math/Science has become a blueprint for effective science and mathematics teacher preparation across the nation. The LSU program is well positioned to replicate GeauxTeach Math/Science at other campuses within the LSU System and across Louisiana.
“GeauxTeach Math/Science is a transformational way to recruit, prepare and support science and math teachers,” said Dr. Mary Neal, LSU zoology and medical school alumna and development chair of the College of Science’s executive committee. “This fundraising effort was successful because of the generosity of LSU’s alumni and friends. My husband, Ron, and I were proud to join other donors in support of this program that is critical to inspiring the next generations of leaders in energy, healthcare, national security, technology, our environment and beyond.”
A community of master and mentor teachers share the responsibility of preparing GeauxTeach Math/Science students for the rigors of the classroom. The mentor teachers guide the students in their field experiences where they work together to design unique and relevant classroom experiences. LSU math, science and education researchers guide the students’ learning of content and pedagogy.
“The GeauxTeach Math/Science program is a worthwhile experience for our students,” said Robyn Carlin, College of Science master teacher. “Not only will they get a chance to promote the importance of math and science in the classroom through inquiry-based instruction, but they will also become informed stakeholders who can positively affect math and science education in the community at large. We are convinced that even those GeauxTeach Math/Science students who opt for careers outside of education remain strong advocates for STEM education.”