La Sierra University announced Oct. 1 its award of a $3 million, five-year Title V grant from the U.S. Department of Education for increasing the number of students who become teachers in STEM subjects, particularly students of Hispanic descent and those from financially challenged backgrounds.
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; and establish yearlong internships that lead to immediate employment after graduation, 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 learning assistants and personalized student coaching.
Dr. Keith Drieberg, chair of Curriculum and Instruction in La Sierra’s School of Education, will lead the major activities of this year’s Title V grant initiative and was instrumental in conceptualizing the grant’s goals and objectives. Dr. Marvin Payne, currently project director of the Guided Pathways to Success in STEM Title V Programs, led the submission team and will assist with implementation.
“This will allow La Sierra University to continue its mission and expand its outreach to underrepresented populations in STEM fields and focus on assisting them to become STEM educators,” Drieberg said, noting that STEM teachers are in high demand.
According to Payne, La Sierra University has a high percentage of first generation college students who can benefit from innovative approaches to help them navigate the college landscape.
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. Also in September, U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Best Colleges guide placed La Sierra 11th in 15 western states for social mobility for its ability to enroll and graduate students who are recipients of federal Pell Grants. In fall 2020, the university’s student body was nearly 47% Hispanic, with approximately 54% of the university’s undergraduates receiving Pell Grants.
By Darla Martin Tucker