Rider partners with U.S. Satellite Laboratory to increase STEM teachers

Teachers will learn to integrate authentic data from NASA exploration through the development of meaningful STEM activities

Rider University is partnering with the U.S. Satellite Laboratory (USSL) to further develop science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers. Students in the Master of Arts and certificate programs in teacher leadership will be able to specialize in STEM by taking courses directly through USSL beginning this fall.

USSL is dedicated to developing leaders in STEM and supporting teachers by providing authentic contexts for learning science and math content. It delivers live, online graduate courses for classroom teachers that support the integration of real-world data available from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Master of Arts and certificate students will learn how to enhance STEM K-12 teaching by engaging students in the current contexts of ocean, space and the changing world climate, according to Dean of the College of Education and Human Services Dr. Sharon Sherman.

With a nationwide shortage of STEM teachers, Sherman says the program will provide teachers with the skills needed to become leaders and help shape STEM coursework in their schools.

"The quality of the math and science courses USSL offers is outstanding," she says. "Our students will not only deepen their knowledge of leadership skills necessary for teachers, but they will also become further immersed in their subject matter."

Beginning in the fall semester, Rider will offer five courses through USSL, including Methods of STEM Education. Each semester a suite of elective courses will be available.

USSL entered into a Space Act Agreement with NASA in 2009, building on several years of grant-funded STEM curriculum initiatives. Each USSL course includes a guest speaker from NASA who shares mission-related research and connections to classroom teaching. Each student enrolled in the master's or certificate program will also receive a personal mentor from USSL.

"Teachers may want to use the certificate program to advance their careers as STEM leaders and learn to bring engaging phenomena and authentic data to their classrooms," she says. "We want teachers to have access to the stellar content in the courses."