National Science Foundation Grant Combines STEM with Social Justice Initiatives

May 25, 2017

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As part of a Robert Noyce Capacity Building grant from the National Science Foundation, Texas Lutheran University (TLU) will receive approximately $74,936 to support the project, "Building Capacity to Produce TLU Culturally Aware STEM Teachers (CAST)."

Under the direction of Physics Department Chair Dr. Toni Sauncy and Education Department Chair Dr. Jeannette Jones, TLU CAST’s goals include producing uniquely trained 7th through 12th-grade STEM teachers who will serve largely rural, high-need school districts in south central Texas including Seguin, Nixon-Smiley, Gonzales, and Luling independent school districts.

Dr. Sauncy and Dr. Jones are aiming to create an innovative program that combines required, rigorous course material with the most effective training to produce successful science and math educators who are also focused on cultural sensitivity, social justice, and the ideologies of scientific citizenship as a STEM concern. This program will also serve as a model for scientists and educators who are serious about making an impact on diversity in STEM by appealing to underrepresented groups.

For Dr. Sauncy, equipping science and math educators with the tools to understand cultural sensitivity and teaching them to be more knowledgeable about issues of social justice as they relate to STEM fields is an overall benefit to science.

“At TLU, we’re committed to helping every student discover and develop his or her passion,” Dr. Sauncy said. “This focus on facilitating the quest to find vocation is the common thread in our robust general education curriculum and throughout TLU degree programs. We feel confident that integrating our rigorous and well-established STEM degree programs with lessons of inclusion, diversity, and cultural awareness will allow us to recruit and prepare excellent STEM teachers that will have a significant impact in the school districts within our region.”


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