Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program at Xavier University

By Erin Moss, Co-editor of DUE Point

The NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program provides funding for universities that develop innovative methods of training highly-effective science and mathematics teachers to work with K-12 students in high-need areas.  Project Director, Dr. Carla Gerberry, and co-PI, Dr. Mary Stroud, describe some of the unique features of the Noyce Program at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH.   

Q: What are some of the ways traditional teacher education falls short in preparing teachers to work in high-need areas?

First, traditional teacher education often neglects to address topics of racism, stereotypes, and the needs of underserved students in meaningful and sustained ways.  Second, we often fail to adequately prepare our teachers for high-need classrooms (both rural and urban) and their attendant issues. Third, teacher preparation programs spend little time on current events affecting their populations, such as gun violence, the lack of highly-qualified teachers, and the under-funding of public schools—particularly high-need urban and rural schools.  These three things are facets of the larger challenge to provide our future teachers with a realistic view of what the classroom looks like and the struggles that students may have that are not related to classroom learning.

Q: Describe one or two new aspects of training that you developed to meet the additional needs of prospective teachers of high-need students.    

Breakthrough Cincinnati hosts Noyce scholars for summer internships.

Our program has a summer internship that Noyce scholars complete after their freshman and/or sophomore years, providing them with experience teaching high-need students in grades 3-9.  Scholars have two choices: Breakthrough Cincinnati—a collaborative that supports students through a summer school program; or STEM camps run on Xavier’s campus. Both experiences are meant to encourage interns to explore the possibility of a teaching career.  If interns decide to become secondary mathematics teachers, they may apply for the Noyce scholarship for their final two undergraduate years.

Throughout the grant period, we run a boot-camp week to prepare our interns for the summer.  Interns review classroom management strategies, create a summer teaching plan, learn about current events, and enjoy visits from guest speakers with experience teaching in a variety of schools.

We also provide support for scholars once they become teachers, via an academy that scholars attend during their first two years of teaching.  We have informal mentoring for those scholars and frequently host them on campus with their new students as a form of community outreach.

Q: What transformations do you notice as your Noyce Scholars advance through the program?     

As a result of their Noyce experiences, our scholars demonstrate increased levels of commitment and compassion for their students while gaining confidence in their own abilities to serve as effective teachers.  They are better equipped to face and manage the challenges they may encounter while serving in high-need schools and districts. Overall, their experience helps confirm their sincere belief that they can make a positive difference in the classroom.  

Q: How have YOU grown or changed as a result of your involvement with this project?

The Noyce program has introduced me to a variety of community partners as well as fantastic students. The program has also helped me to evolve in my own ideas about what high-need schools are, the students who attend them, and the needs that are present in those schools. Our project has helped me to see the potential in all students and how to foster their growth in a positive way

The most rewarding and joyous part of having the scholars is seeing them blossom into dedicated and competent teachers who love their students and are committed to their jobs.  I also love that they keep coming back to Xavier to involve their students with our support.

Editor’s note: Q&A responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Learn more about NSF DUE 1239995
Full Project Name: Xavier University Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program
Project Website:
Project Contact: Carla Gerberry, PI

For more information on any of these programs, follow the links, and follow these blog posts! This blog is a project of the Mathematical Association of America, produced with financial support of NSF DUE Grant #1239995.

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Erin Moss is a co-editor of DUE Point and an Associate Professor of Mathematics Education at Millersville University, where she works with undergraduates from all majors as well as graduate students in the M.Ed. in Mathematics program.