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Last modified: Monday, April 5, 2010

IUPUI hosting Noyce regional conference for 2nd year

April 5, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS -- For the second consecutive year current and recent Noyce Scholarship recipients and higher education faculty will come to Indianapolis for the Midwest Noyce Conference. The conference, set for Thursday and Friday (April 8 and 9) at the University Place Conference Center and Hotel on the IUPUI campus, will be hosted by the Urban Center for the Advancement of STEM Education (UCASE), a joint project of the IU School of Education at IUPUI, the Purdue School of Science at IUPUI and the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI.

Noyce Conference

Kenneth Tobin of City University of New York speaks during his seminar, "Becoming a Culturally Adaptive Teacher," during the 2009 Noyce Midwest Conference.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds the conference for invited Noyce recipients and Noyce program principal investigators from 15 states in the Midwest region. Educators and researchers from across the country will discuss teaching issues with the participants. Dr. Penny Noyce, daughter of the scholarship namesake Robert Noyce (a founder of Intel and co-inventor of the microchip), will speak about her father's vision for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

The Noyce Scholarship Program awards grants to colleges and universities through the NSF for scholarships to prospective science and mathematics teachers. Recipients are both undergraduates majoring in STEM disciplines who are preparing to become K-12 math and science teachers and STEM professionals who are making a career change to go into teaching. Current Noyce recipients at IUPUI are studying to become science and mathematics teachers; a Noyce program at IU Bloomington is focused on preparing mathematics teachers.

Noyce participants commit to teaching in a high poverty school upon earning their degree or teaching certification. The Midwest Conference is focused on supporting their work, with the theme of "Preparing Excellent STEM Teachers for Urban and Rural High-Needs Schools."

Sessions will feature an array of topics ranging from legal issues to mentoring new teachers. "It will help round out the instruction," said Kim Nguyen, operations director for the UCASE. Nguyen said the conference is also intended to create networking opportunities for the teachers.

"Retention in the teaching profession in high-needs schools is so much of a concern," she said. "So this is to address that concern."

Sessions will focus particularly on the challenges of high-needs rural schools. For the math and science faculty from higher education institutions, workshops pinpoint best practices for ongoing Noyce projects on their campuses.

Nguyen said she hopes that Noyce recipients will gain a confidence from seeing other new and emerging teachers. She said that she and other Noyce program directors had noticed that the new teachers did not have a full grasp of their place in the overall picture of STEM education.

"They did not realize they are part of a nationally recognized cohort," Nguyen said. "So the Midwest Conference will bring them together and the national experts will affirm to them that 'you are the cream of the crop. You are selected to deliver the mission for producing the 21st century graduates of high school math and science.' "

The Noyce Midwest Conference is scheduled to return to IUPUI again in 2011.