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The Sherman Experience

Fam Pic Grad Lunch 2013

The foundation of the Sherman Scholars Program is our high achieving students who possess a demonstrated aptitude in the STEM disciplines, a desire to teach, an interest in understanding the needs of urban families, schools, and communities, and a commitment to social justice and quality education for all children. Sherman Scholars have meaningful experiences that position them to attain academic success and to be well prepared for student teaching and full-time employment.

Community: Scholars say the most salient component of the program is membership in a community of STEM scholars and teachers, which we call the “Sherman Family.” There is deep and sincere appreciation, concern, and respect among Sherman scholars and alumni. They support one another, advise one another, and celebrate one another.

Academic Success: A primary value of the Sherman Program is a dedication to education, which starts with the commitment to one’s own learning. We believe great teachers are those who are always thirsty for knowledge and seek out learning opportunities. Sherman Scholars are students first.

First Year Experience course: This is a one-credit course for the incoming cohort of scholars. The purpose is to prepare students for the transition to UMBC, to introduce scholars to the expectations and ways of the Sherman Program, and to build community within the cohort.

Academic Coaching: In addition to academic advisor(s), students are advised by program staff. Program advising begins for incoming freshmen during the summer prior to matriculation and for all other students during the application process.  Our philosophy of advising is that it is collaborative, goal-oriented, and comprehensive with a focus on short- and long-term goals.

Professional Development: Through meaningful Applied Learning Experience placements, such as service-learning, fellowships, and research, Sherman Scholars gain experience working in educational settings and interacting with preK-12 students under the guidance of teacher-mentors and youth-advocates. Program staff engages students in reflection and assessment, which are among the chief skills of competent teaching.

Financial Awards: Scholarships of up to $10,000 are awarded to students identified through the scholar selection process. We make a commitment to our students through offering them multi-year awards.

Alumni Support: Our support, through coaching and community, continues when scholars graduate and enter the classroom as teachers. We are committed to guiding our alumni through the first few years of teaching.

 

The Sherman Scholars Program uses a model of multi-tiered support for our Scholars while students at UMBC and as alumni in the workforce. These support systems are:

Social

Like other successful national and local programs, the Sherman STEM Teacher Scholars Program utilizes a cohort model. Each incoming cohort of Sherman Scholars is comprised of incoming freshmen and transfer students, current UMBC upperclassmen, and Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) candidates. All cohorts combine under the program’s umbrella into the “Sherman Family,” our STEM scholar and teacher community. This heterogeneous peer model affirms the Sherman Family concept and represents the teaching workforce into which Sherman Scholars will graduate.

In our community scholars and alumni have empathetic peers and colleagues with whom to share triumphs and challenges, to study, and to collaborate. Additionally, while a student and as an active alumni, scholars will have opportunities to cultivate relationships and create professional networks with teachers and other school personnel, community members, and experts in the field with whom they interact during applied learning placements, their student teaching internship, workshops, and special events.

Academic

The Sherman STEM Teacher Scholars Program is merit-based, so our students demonstrate academic success. However, being academically talented is not enough. As future teachers Sherman scholars should have an interest in learning beyond their discipline. They should be naturally curious and thirsty for knowledge. They should be lifelong learners.

  • Sherman Advising: By selecting UMBC, Sherman scholars make the academically rigorous choice, so the program provides academic advising. Our philosophy is that academic advising is so much more than course selection. First, we believe that advising involves mentoring and coaching, and the foundation of our work is a student’s academic and professional goals, both short-term and long-term. Second, we believe that advising includes teaching students the skills for academic success, such as effectively utilizing professor office hours and establishing productive and mutually beneficial study groups. Third, we believe that advising should be empowering, so we cultivate self-reflective practices employed by the most successful students and teachers. Finally, we recognize that our scholars are more than students and future teachers, so to the extent a student is comfortable, advising conversations may also touch on personal-life issues.We work with scholars both one-on-one and in small groups, and we encourage peer-to-peer mentoring. Advising begins before the first time a student registers for courses at UMBC.
  • First Year Experience course: FYE is a one-credit course with three primary goals. First, students new to UMBC will learn about academic success strategies as they acclimate to the academic rigor of UMBC. Second, scholars will actively participate in a community-based service-learning activity. Through this experience they begin to explore the idea of applied learning and to think critically about and discuss the social context of schooling, students, and communities. Lastly, scholars will understand program expectations and values (i.e. leadership and service), allowing them to adopt a program identity and to refine their voice in issues of social justice.

Professional

The Sherman Program provides Scholars early, frequent, and meaningful experiences with youth, schools, and the community through relevant and practical applied learning placements and exposure to the teaching profession and professionals. In the years that lead up to student teaching, Sherman scholars will become active members of the Baltimore-area educational community through participation in service learning, fellowships, research, and summer employment. Scholars will analytically reflect upon these experiences from various perspectives, such as discussing the political ideologies driving American education, the influence of the home and community on student learning, and the changing demographics that bring forward the potentials inherent in diversity.

A service learning placement is a three to five hour per week commitment working in a youth-focused academic environment, such as an after-school program. Scholars will participate in at least one service-learning activity during their first or second year in the program. Fellowships are eight to ten hours per week during the academic year or full-time during the summer. Academic year experiences are typically classroom fellowships where students are partnered with a teacher, and summer fellowships are generally academic enrichment programs in which students serve as a primary or secondary instructor to preK-12 students. Building on the service learning experience, fellowships are the forum in which Scholars begin to practice creating an engaging learning environment. Scholars will complete at least one fellowship prior to their Phase I student teaching internship.

Financial

It is our goal to help students fund as much of their academic costs as possible.  Undergraduate Sherman awards range from $5000-$10,000 per academic year, and graduate awards are typically $12,000 per year.  We assist our students in finding additional financial resource.

Alumni

Our support of your goal to be an excellent teacher does not end on graduation day.  Teacher induction is support and guidance for teachers in the early stages of their careers (e.g., mentoring, professional development).  We offer this type of support to our alumni and are building an active Sherman Program Alumni network to facilitate the maintenance of relationships, opportunities for professional development, and connection to the Sherman community.