Drexel University is training 24 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics undergrads in "social justice," thanks to a $1,009,762 grant awarded by the National Science Foundation. The project's aim is to prepare participants to become teachers in "urban high-need school districts."
What are the details?
First uncovered by the Washington Free Beacon, the continuing grant is projected to run through the spring of 2023, and states "the project intends to promote social justice teaching, which emphasizes connecting science, mathematics, and engineering instruction to students' personal experiences and culture."
Further, "seminars related to mindfulness and developing emotional intelligence will augment the scholars' coursework," the award states. The foundation of the curriculum will be geared toward "understanding students' cultural communities as a foundation for classroom culture."
The program aims to retain the teachers in Philadelphia's school district and charter schools for five years, providing continued mentoring for their first three years in the classroom.
The grant summary reiterates that "the long-term and far-reaching benefits to society of this project are the potential to document and share sustainable approaches, steeped in the context of social-justice, for recruiting and preparing STEM majors to provide success in learning mathematics and science for all middle-grade students in a high-need school district."
It concludes: "This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria."
The National Science Foundation isn't the only higher-education gift awarded for promoting social justice of late. Last week, Syracuse University dedicated its new Lender Center for Social Justice, after receiving a $5 million gift from two alums.
Marvin and Helaine Lender — beneficiaries of the Lender's bagel fortune — "felt the need to give back to the community" with their philanthropic initiative, according to Marvin.
Helaine explained, "We encourage dialogue with everybody, not just a smaller group. It's basically a research center to find out why do people hate and why is there bigotry."
The center's co-director, professor Kendall Phillips, told Campus Reform, "We envision the Center serving as a place for innovation and proactive approaches to social problems and concerns."
He continued, "I suppose some folks might be concerned that we will be promoting a single point of view or serving a particular set of political values, but that is exactly the opposite of what we want to accomplish. Real innovation will require dialogue across multiple points of view. We hope to create just such a dialogue."
Campus Reform noted that the center's launch featured speakers with backgrounds in the Black Lives Matter movement and "reproductive justice," but no conservative speakers were hosted at the event.