Rowan awarded $749,236 grant

Rowan awarded $749,236 grant

By Denise Jewell, Gloucester County Times Staff

GLASSBORO -- Rowan University will receive $749,236 from the state Commission on Higher Education to expand its College of Education with the goal of attracting qualified teachers to South Jersey urban schools.

The school was one of four state universities awarded a total $3 million worth of grants under the Teacher Preparation Grant Program.

Rowan President Donald Farish said Monday that the grant would allow the university "to grow in a very targeted way to produce graduates that are very highly needed right now."

Under its grant proposal, the school plans to place about 223 additional student teachers in schools to teach a range of subjects by 2005. Farish said the school would hire new professors and expand opportunities for undergraduates to get real experience in local urban schools, like in the Camden school district.

"The thing that we want to focus on is to have students get experience even before they are student teachers, ... to do work in urban school settings while they're still undergraduates so that they get a feel for it," Farish said.

Jeanne Oswald, deputy executive director of the higher education commission, said the grants are intended to fund existing programs that will help prepare teachers to work in urban districts in subjects that are typically difficult to fill -- like math, science, special education, preschool and early education and reading.

"We want to make sure that the urban children have access to highly effective teachers and have the chance to succeed," Oswald said.

Eleven colleges and universities submitted proposals for the grants. Rowan University -- along with Kean University, Montclair State University and New Jersey City University -- was chosen after its proposal was reviewed for its ability to increase the number of effective teachers in area urban schools. Rowan also plans to develop resources for graduates that are working within urban districts and to cultivate relationships with local school districts and community colleges that feed into Rowan's College of Education.

"A lot of the students have an interest in urban education, but they don't necessarily have the skill set to be successful," Farish said.

With the help of the two-year grant, Rowan will admit additional students to its education program. If the program expansion is successful, Farish hopes the state will provide additional funding once the grant runs out.

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Date Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2002 - 10:40