Davenport creates urban education program to address teacher shortage

Kent County

CALEDONIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Davenport University is addressing the shortage of teachers in Michigan with a new bachelor’s degree in urban STEM education.

“We have a concentration on deep STEM knowledge,” said Susan Gunn, Ph.D., the dean of Davenport’s College of Urban Education. “These teachers will know their background whether it’s biology, physics and chemistry and then we will add to that a core of courses on urban education.”

Gunn, a former teacher at Detroit Public Schools, says the shortage in teachers is alarming. 

“Since August 2020 there’s a 44% increase in teachers retiring,” Gunn said. “Prior to that we were having challenges in this state.”

Davenport is pairing the new program with new full-ride scholarships

Davenport STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — students entering their junior and senior years who are interested in teaching are eligible for the scholarships. 

“We know that one out of five teachers leave the profession within the first five years of their teaching, so that’s 20%,” Gunn said. “What the scholarship is designed to do is provide support and make it easier for students to go this route but also get a commitment for every year of support you have to provide two years of service teaching in a high needs school.”

Other Davenport STEM students planning on going into teaching are eligible for stipends. 

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