August 13, 2022

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Mercer receives $1.5 million NSF grant to develop computer science master teachers for rural Georgia

MACON/ATLANTA – Mercer University’s University of Education has acquired a $1.5 million grant from the Nationwide Science Foundation (NSF) to build pc science master academics for colleges in rural Georgia.

The five-year undertaking, in the total of $1,499,816, is administered by way of the NSF’s Division of Undergraduate Education and learning and Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Method.

The challenge aims to serve the nationwide need to have of acquiring very productive laptop science teacher leaders who are well prepared to strengthen the means of rural college techniques to give entry to superior-high quality instruction for all pupils.

Dr. Thomas Koballa, dean of the Higher education of Schooling, serves as principal investigator on the grant undertaking, along with co-principal investigators Dr. Susie Morrissey, assistant professor of mathematics schooling in the Faculty of Training Dr. Bob Allen, professor and chair of laptop or computer science in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Dr. Anthony Choi, professor of electrical and personal computer engineering in the Faculty of Engineering.

The job includes partnerships with Wiregrass Ga Technical Faculty, the Personal computer Science for Georgia Educational Partners Network and superior-will need university districts in Clinch, Espresso, Evans, Jeff Davis, Tattnall, Treutlen and Wheeler counties, as properly as Dublin City Faculties.

Georgia Office of Education and learning facts indicates that of the 81,144 Georgia center university and superior university students enrolled in personal computer science programs through the 2020-2021 faculty year, fewer than 20 p.c ended up learners in rural school units. Also, of the 309 licensed computer system science lecturers, only 86 taught in rural faculties.

“Job studies reveal hundreds of unfilled laptop or computer science positions in Georgia and several a lot more unfilled positions that desire the thinking capabilities taught in personal computer science programs,” stated Dr. Koballa. “Students attending rural faculties in our point out, particularly users of underrepresented groups, really do not have accessibility to laptop or computer science instruction to prepare them for these positions in comparison to college students attending urban and suburban schools.”

“We are thrilled to perform with instructors who are dedicated to offering their pupils with computer science options that will enable them to pursue careers in a properly-paying industry with a shortage of candidates,” extra Dr. Morrissey.

The undertaking team will recruit and coach 16 accredited pc science Learn Instructor Fellows (MTFs), like a person center college teacher and just one significant faculty trainer from every of the eight partner districts.

MTFs will get tuition and a stipend to total a 14-month on line Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) in Instructor Management diploma software, adopted by on line laptop science mini-programs, in-person computer science management assemblies and computer science program-degree preparing activities.

“This system will acquire not only the understandings and pedagogical expertise to educate personal computer science classes but also to serve as laptop or computer science leaders for their faculty districts. As personal computer science teacher leaders, MTFs will be in a position to mentor other computer science lecturers and tell school- and district-stage selections about curriculum, program offerings and career pathways,” said Dr. Koballa.

Nonprofit companions, these as the Georgia Rural Wellbeing Innovation Middle, College of Georgia Agricultural Extension Company and the Program Engineering Group at Warner Robins Air Logistics Sophisticated, will give MTFs with job-centered personal computer science links in rural communities.

“When Dean Koballa requested me to join this group, I was ecstatic,” claimed Dr. Allen. “Computer science training is 1 of my passions. Throughout my yrs at Mercer, I have conducted numerous introductory computer system programming workshops for K-12 academics in Middle Ga.  This grant enables Mercer to create a sustainable system for encouraging and acquiring substantial-quality laptop or computer science teachers all over the state of Ga.”

“We want to have an impact and lay out sustainable procedures and mechanisms, so that each individual of the university districts are equipped to carry on what they begun, and all foreseeable future learners will benefit,” extra Dr. Choi.

About the School of Training

Mercer University’s Tift Higher education of Training – with campuses in Macon, Atlanta and the University’s two regional tutorial facilities – prepares extra skilled educators than any other private institution in Ga. Named for the former women’s faculty that merged with Mercer in 1986, the School of Training provides baccalaureate and graduate levels, and is guided by the conceptual framework of the “Transforming Educator,” which supports those who aspire to expand professionally during their occupations, though also searching for to completely transform the life of pupils. For far more data, stop by training.mercer.edu.