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$1.5 Million Grant Award to Transition Math Majors Into Teaching Profession

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Cal State Fullerton has been awarded a National Science Foundation Noyce Program grant, expected to total $1.5 million over five years, to recruit and prepare mathematics majors to become high school math teachers.

The project, in which first-year funding of $941,815 has been awarded, partners with Anaheim Union High School District, Santa Ana Unified School District and Santa Ana College and seeks to increase the number of highly qualified secondary math teachers, said David L. Pagni, professor of mathematics.

Pagni is directing the “Transitioning Math Majors Into Teaching” project with Cherie Ichinose, associate professor of mathematics and 2018 Carol Barnes Excellence in Teaching Award recipient, Patrice Waller, assistant professor of secondary education, and CSUF mathematics alumna Christa Solheid, professor of mathematics at Santa Ana College.

Each year of the grant, CSUF’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and College of Education, and math faculty at Santa Ana College, will reach out to the STEM majors and identify and recruit 11 “Noyce Associates” and 10 “Noyce Scholars” into a mathematics teaching concentration. The project will provide internships for the Noyce Associates and scholarships for Noyce Scholars.

Freshmen and sophomore students at CSUF and Santa Ana College will be recruited to be Noyce Associates and receive intentional mentoring experiences and internships, including content and teaching seminars hosted by the two institutions, tutoring opportunities and visitations to partner secondary school math classrooms.

This effort also will create a sustainable model for preparing prospective secondary school mathematics teachers who transfer in a teaching track from community college to a four-year institution, Pagni said. Associates will be groomed to become Noyce Scholars during their junior, senior and post baccalaureate teaching credential year.

“This collaboration seeks to create a continuum of experiences in teaching secondary school mathematics for future teachers — from the first year of college through the post-baccalaureate credential year,” said Pagni, CSUF’s 1993 Outstanding Professor and director of Project MISS — Mathematics Intensive Summer Session program — for high school girls.

Students in the project will be provided with a range of enrichment and supportive experiences, including when they transition into their first teaching jobs. A Math Teachers’ Circle at CSUF will be launched to offer professional development opportunities to allow the new teachers to enrich their knowledge and experience of math, while building meaningful partnerships with other teachers and mathematicians, Pagni added.