Otterbein Department of Mathematics and Actuarial Science Receives NSF Grant
Posted Mar 17, 2021
The Otterbein University Department of Mathematics and Actuarial Science has been awarded a $1,185,537 grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (NOYCE). The grant will fund activities and programs over five years (2021-2026) to address the shortage of highly qualified mathematics teachers, particularly in urban, high-need schools.
The Department of Mathematics and Actuarial Science, in tandem with Otterbein’s Department of Education, will partner with Columbus City Schools (CCS), Ohio’s largest public-school district, to create an urban strand for teacher education and work to increase the number of calculus-ready students graduating from local schools.
“We have a well-established history with Otterbein University of collaborative initiatives aimed towards improving our diverse population of educators and students,” said Tanya McClanahan, supervisor of higher education partnerships at CCS.
This NSF award will continue to strengthen the relationship between the University and CCS to improve outcomes for CCS students while supporting the professional development of mathematics education majors. Otterbein faculty will develop programs to support pre-service candidates, with special attention to the teaching of algebra, geometry and pre-calculus topics using methods for achievement in urban settings. A study on the impact of a Professional Learning Community approach to continued professional development and the retention of mathematics teachers in urban education will also be conducted.
Jeffrey Smith, associate professor of mathematics and actuarial science, will work with Bethany Vosburg-Bluem, associate professor of education, and Allison McGrath, assistant professor of education, to facilitate teacher placement and professional development of the mathematics teachers for this innovative project.
“Being able to continue and expand upon a longstanding partnership with Columbus City Schools was one of the driving factors for pursuing the grant. When you build community, you build sustainability. I can’t think of a better way to continue our journey of lifelong learning. This type of professional development warms us when we are in need of inspiration and affords us the chance to be idea kindling inspiration for others,” said Smith.
Also instrumental in securing the NSF grant were Grace McDaniel, assistant professor of education; Rachel Karpman, assistant professor of mathematics and actuarial science; and Bridgette Cahalin and Diane Nance, Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs.
“This is an important opportunity for Otterbein to reinforce our ongoing commitment to CCS and other districts. It will ensure future Otterbein students have the support they deserve,” said Wendy Sherman Heckler, provost and senior vice president. “This grant will have a lasting and positive impact for Otterbein students and future students at our partner schools.”
The NSF is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research across virtually all fields of science, engineering, and education. The NOYCE program supports institutions and individuals at those institutions who seek to encourage talented science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors and professionals to become K-12 mathematics and science (including engineering and computer science) teachers.
“We can now ensure a foundation for a healthy STEM life for students,” said Smith. “We’ll be enabling systemic and positive reform. I want students and teachers to claim their mathematical power!”