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UTeach STEM Teacher Prep Program Expands with $22.5 Million Grant

The National Math and Science Initiative has expanded the UTeach secondary science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teacher preparation program to five more universities and will expand again to another five universities in the fall of 2015, bringing the total number of universities implementing the program to 45.

UTeach is a program that recruits university math, science and computer science students and prepares them to become secondary school teachers. The students can earn a teaching certification without adding time or expense to their four-year STEM degree program. According to information from NMSI, core elements of the UTeach program include "recruitment and retention incentives, a compact degree program, a strong focus on research-based strategies for teaching and learning math and science, intensive field teaching experience and personal guidance from master teachers and faculty."

The five universities selected to implement the UTeach program beginning in the fall of 2014 are Drexel University, Florida International University, Oklahoma State University, University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of Maryland, College Park. They were selected through a competitive RFP process, and each university will receive a $1.45 million grant to cover the costs associated with implementing the program over a five-year period.

The UTeach program is intended to increase the number and quality of STEM teachers in the United States, and NMSI has partnered with the UTeach Institute since 2008 to expand the program. "The severe shortage of qualified math and science teachers in the United States is undoubtedly contributing to our nation's growing STEM education crisis," said Sara Martinez Tucker, CEO of NMSI, in a prepared statement. "By increasing access to the proven UTeach model, we're helping create a STEM pipeline of highly skilled teachers."

NMSI projects that by 2020 the UTeach program will produce more than 9,000 math and science teachers and that program graduates will have affected 4.8 million secondary STEM students in the United States. The UTeach program was first developed at the University of Texas at Austin in 1997.

The expansion of the UTeach program was made possible by a $22.5 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Universities interested in receiving UTeach grants in the next year can find eligibility requirements and application information on the UTeach Institute's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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