Professor awarded $74,000 grant

Sederick Rice
Sederick Rice

Sederick Charles Rice, Ph.D., a tenured associate professor of biology at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program.

The $74,000 grant will be used to study ways to retain teachers, according to Rice, who is also chair of the Limited Authority School Board of the Pine Bluff School District.

The project is titled Building Capacity for Critical Need STEM and Special Education Teachers in Southeast Arkansas, according to a news release.

The project will leverage support from UAPB, a public comprehensive 1890 land grant institution, Minority Serving Institution, and Historically Black College and University, to identify STEM and special education teacher recruitment and retention challenges, as well as motivations for educators to leave the profession, within high-need school districts in southeast Arkansas.

The effort will utilize a community-based participatory research model which will engage UAPB, local and regional educational cooperatives, high-need school district administrators and teachers, and charter schools in a broader review of contextual factors, which may trigger K-12 STEM and special education teacher attrition and contribute to the growing teacher shortage "crisis" in Arkansas and across the nation.

The main objectives of the project are to (1) strengthen partnerships with high need local educational agencies, (2) identify and/or develop models to study STEM and special education teacher effectiveness and retention, (3) identify teacher or school experiences that result in retention of STEM and special education teachers of color, (4) conduct and evaluate a pilot program to study or improve teacher effectiveness and retention, and (5) host a Critical Needs STEM and Special Education Teacher Capacity Building Conference, at UAPB, to bring together local, state, regional, and national participants to discuss and analyze barriers and challenges to addressing STEM and special education teacher shortages in southeast Arkansas.

"I am extremely excited to receive this grant award from NSF and look forward to honoring the guidance and advice of many of my AM&N College and UAPB mentors, who have charged me and other alumni with utilizing our talents and resources to try to help solve educational and socioeconomic problems within our greater Pine Bluff/Jefferson County community," Rice said in the release.

"This project could provide important feedback data for high-need local educational agencies (LEAs) in southeast Arkansas to help those LEAs recruit and retain high quality STEM and special education teachers and prevent attrition and early retirement," Rice said.

Rice will collaborate with Kimberly Davis, dean of the School of Education, and William Torrence, an associate professor of Health, Physical Education, & Recreation at UAPB, along with organizations U.S. Prep, Educators Rising, the University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development, and Science Education for Elementary Students with Learning Disabilities.

Upcoming Events