La Sierra University to train more STEM educators
This grant will allow La Sierra’s School of Education, together with the Guided Pathways to Success in STEM program, which was initiated through a prior Title V grant, the opportunity to develop additional programs and support mechanisms that will increase the number of students who qualify for STEM teaching credentials. Specifically, these funds will be used to strengthen articulation agreements with community colleges and local high schools; create additional ‘Summer Bridge’ programs that help freshmen and incoming transfer students succeed; establish yearlong internships that lead to immediate employment after graduation; implement technology toward influencing educational training; renovate STEM learning spaces; and integrate student support services, among other activities.
Additional services will include the linking of La Sierra’s accelerated Teacher Credentialing Pathway to instructional improvements in gateway STEM courses, including supplemental instruction, learning assistants and personalized student coaching.
This Title V award is the third for the university over the past six years. It follows a five-year, $3 million grant received in 2019 aimed at supporting and inspiring disadvantaged students to pursue bachelor’s degrees in STEM arenas, and a $2.6 million grant in 2015 which was used over five years to develop programming designed to help at-risk freshmen succeed in foundational courses, adjust to the rigors of college academics and inspire them toward degree completion.
Dr. Keith Drieberg, chair of Curriculum and Instruction in La Sierra’s School of Education, notes that STEM teaching careers are in high demand and that the Inland Empire especially needs qualified STEM teachers in the K-12 educational system. In surveying the opportunity for teachers in STEM careers, Drieberg found that people of color are underrepresented in teacher education. The School of Education and its collaborators are striving through high impact practices and various support services additional ways to reach this group of potential students, he said.
La Sierra University is designated by the U.S. Dept. of Education as an Hispanic-serving Institution and was ranked in September by the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education 2022 College Rankings as No. 1 in the nation for its diverse student body and faculty. The ranking marked the fourth such designation for the university by the Wall Street Journal.
Pictured, from left: Students Nicole Rivera, Sungyoung Choi and Melanie Zepeda work on a soil experiment in Dr. John Perumal’s lab during the biology module of STEM Bridge 2021.