Half-Million-Dollar Grant Allows University of Mary to Help Stem Critical Teacher Shortage in North Dakota

One of our alumni teach a class of second graders.

BISMARCK, ND — University of Mary’s Liffrig School of Education and Behavioral Sciences (LFSEBS) recently received $555,500 in grant money for its teacher preparation program beginning the 2024 summer semester. The money awarded allows the University of Mary to fully fund 23 North Dakota teacher candidates in the areas of special education, elementary education, or secondary education. To qualify, they must be going for their initial teacher license, are employed by school districts as building level substitutes or paraprofessionals. 

Kim Marman 2024
Dr. Kim Marman, chair of the Department of Education

“We are extremely grateful and humbled to be a recipient of this grant money that will help provide for more teachers in North Dakota,” exclaimed Dr. Kim Marman, chair of the Department of Education at the University of Mary. “Throughout the United States and in the state of North Dakota, there are critical shortages for teaching positions. The University of Mary teacher preparation program has consistently met the needs of the community and beyond, and we will continue to do so through the funding we have been awarded to prepare qualified educators to serve our communities in North Dakota.”

The University of Mary has partnered with three school districts in North Dakota to help identify the 23 candidates — they are Bismarck, Mandan, and Dickinson. In order to earn their licensure, the candidates will complete five semesters beginning with the first one in May. They’ll be required to complete a one-year internship experience to fulfill the requirements. The grant covers tuition, textbooks, and fees for all of the selected teacher candidates. Mary’s online modality allows aspiring teachers to stay in their communities and help fulfill the teacher shortage, while continuing to work.    

“In the past year, and to make teaching degrees more accessible for the students, we have added online teacher degree programs in the areas of elementary education and special education to meet the needs of our nontraditional students and allow our communities to grow their own educators,” added Marman. “The grow-your-own model allows the teacher candidates to continue working and serve in their communities while receiving a teaching degree. The added components for the Registered Apprenticeship Program for Teachers (RAP-T) allow for candidates to receive a full year of teacher internship with more guided support and mentorship.” 

The federal funds came from the $4.1 million secured by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) for its RAP-T. NDDPI then distributed the funds to four universities in North Dakota, the University of Mary was the largest recipient of all the schools. 

Anyone who wishes to learn more about the University of Mary can do so at www.umary.edu or  online.umary.edu, or by contacting an admissions representative at enroll@umary.edu, or by calling (701) 355-8030. The University of Mary is one of only 15 Recommended Cardinal Newman Society Residential Colleges and Universities in the US. 

About the University of Mary: True to its motto “lumen vitae”—The Light of Life—the University of Mary offers education for the whole of life through cutting-edge professional programs and graduate programs animated by moral courage and leadership in chosen professions and service to the community. A private, co-educational Catholic institution, the University of Mary welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.

A Christian, Catholic, Benedictine institution founded in 1959 by the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, Mary offers nearly 60 bachelor’s, 18 master’s, and five doctoral programs—in Business Administration, Education, Nursing Practice, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. The 20-sport Athletic Department adheres to its Greatness Through Virtue mission under the governance of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), and the USA College Clay Target League. With more than 3,800 students, Mary has locations in North Dakota, Montana, Arizona, Rome, Italy, as well as vibrant online offerings.