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For Immediate Release
January 11, 2016

IPFW Part of $700,000 Award to Recruit Indiana Teachers in High-Need Subjects and Schools

IPFW Part of $700,000 Award to Recruit Indiana Teachers in High-Need Subjects and Schools Image 1
Jeff Nowak Print-quality image

FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Jeff Nowak, associate professor in the Department of Educational Studies at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), along with Jennifer Hicks, science program manager for the I-STEM Resource Network at Purdue University, are co-principal investigators on a $738,000 grant awarded to the Purdue Research Foundation to fund STEM teacher recruitment and retention throughout the state of Indiana.

The Indiana Commission of Higher Education (ICHE) announced this week 13 grants totaling $9,609,702 for organizations and colleges to support programs that recruit, prepare, place, and retain educators in schools with teacher shortages in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subject areas. This is the second round of grants awarded through the STEM Teacher Recruitment Fund, created by the Indiana General Assembly in 2013.

“These grants are amplifying efforts to recruit and retain educators in a field that’s rapidly changing the jobs of tomorrow in the Hoosier state,” said Governor Mike Pence. ”When it comes to ensuring our young people are on a pathway to success in the workforce or in post-secondary studies, a STEM curriculum is critical. I applaud and congratulate these grant recipients for their efforts in seeing that Indiana is filling teaching positions in this critical, high-need area.”

The funding received from ICHE will allow Nowak and Hicks to create a partnership between institutions throughout the state, including IPFW, University of Southern Indiana (USI), University of Notre Dame Center for STEM Education, and Butler University, along with 10 school districts.

 “This system of support and training will involve STEM mentor teachers in each of the participating districts mentoring STEM mentee teachers that have fewer than five years of teaching experience,” said Nowak.

"I-STEM is fortunate to have been selected to extend our work with Indiana science teachers," said Hicks, "and these funds will allow us to provide vital support to our new science teachers to improve their instruction in science and mathematics."

Project goals include:

  • Increasing STEM teacher retention by providing ongoing, just-in-time support to new STEM teachers with grade level and district STEM mentor teachers
  • Improving new STEM mentee teacher’s abilities to implement science and mathematics instructional practices by increasing their pedagogical and subject matter content knowledge
  • Developing a STEM community of practice, utilizing an online platform to support interaction and sharing of resources across Indiana

“These projects will help Indiana fill STEM teaching positions in high-need areas across the state,” said Teresa Lubbers, Indiana commissioner for higher education. “Amid statewide and national conversations about the need for more teachers who are qualified to teach STEM subjects, this fund supports efforts that help Indiana attract, support, and keep great educators.”

“IPFW is proud to play a major role in creating a community of support and practice to recruit and retain STEM teachers throughout Indiana,” said IPFW Chancellor Vicky Carwein. “Jeff's passion for STEM education is evident as he continues to mentor the educators of tomorrow in these high-need areas.”

According to ICHE, programs that received grant awards demonstrated strong potential to increase the numbers of teachers properly trained and credentialed to teach STEM subjects in Indiana public K–12 schools. Teachers who receive support through these grants are required to work in eligible Indiana public schools.

Winning programs were selected by a committee of K–12, higher education, and workforce stakeholders.

For more information contact Nowak at 260-481-6960 or