Governor Says UTeach Funds Will Help Reverse Math-Science Trend
$2.4 Million from NMSI to Help Head Off Shortage of Insutructors in Texas
Gov. Rick Perry visited Wednesday to help UT Dallas celebrate $2.4 million in funding for a program to help the state increase its ranks of math and science teachers.
Gov. Rick Perry said the UTeach initiative would benefit Texas' economy.
"Texas is once again leading the nation with winning ideas, such as the UTeach program, which will help us close the math and science gap in today’s schools, before it becomes a salary gap in tomorrow’s workplace and an opportunity gap for Texas families," Perry said.
UTeach Dallas is one of 12 programs to receive funding from the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) to implement programs modeled after UTeach, a highly successful math and science teacher preparation program at The University of Texas at Austin.
“Leading universities such as ours must contribute significantly to the level of achievement in their communities,” said UT Dallas President Dr. David E. Daniel.
“With this model program, we will strengthen K-12 education by providing a much-needed supply of qualified math and science teachers,” he said. “Our university's focus on quality, emphasis on the sciences and engineering, and history of collaborative work with our community help to ensure a positive impact for the people of Texas through this new program.”
The UTeach Dallas program is the latest effort by UT Dallas to improve math and science education. In 2006, the University announced the construction of a $27 million facility to house research-based education programs in math, science and engineering.
The new building, slated for completion in 2011, will have demonstration centers in which K-12 educators, working with UT Dallas faculty from the Department of Science and Mathematics Education, can study how to teach math and science more effectively. Courses in biology, chemistry, geosciences, mathematics and physics will also share instructional space in this new building.
In addition, UT Dallas has added to its faculty Nobel laureate and physics pioneer Dr. Russell A. Hulse, who discovered the first binary pulsar, to work on advancing science education initiatives. He is working with the faculty to develop innovative K-12 science curricula and collaborating with the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science to develop programs that spark science interest among children.
The UTeach program was established in 1997 at The University of Texas at Austin as an improved way to introduce undergraduate math and science majors to secondary school teaching. By offering compact degree plans, early teaching experiences, and financial assistance for undergraduate students, UTeach provides a platform for raising the quantity and quality of mathematics, science and computer science teachers in secondary schools.
“From our Department of Science/Mathematics Education to our Teacher Development Center, we have helped many young people who love math and science to become teachers,” said UT Dallas Provost Dr. Hobson Wildenthal. “This new program will help us improve and streamline our efforts, recruit more students to the ranks of the teaching profession and plant the seeds for a real cultural change.”
UTeach certifies more than 70 students every year at The University of Texas at Austin. More than 90 percent of UTeach graduates immediately start teaching in their respective fields. More than 80 percent continue four years after starting, compared with only 60 percent nationally. Additionally, almost half of UTeach graduates work in schools where more than 50 percent of students receive free or reduced-price lunches.
“I have been impressed by the tremendous results the UTeach program has had in Texas, and I look forward to the great outcomes that will result from expanding this program across the nation,” said Tom Luce, president and chief executive officer of NMSI.
The National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to help the United States maintain its global leadership position in technological innovation.
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is the lead funding partner through NMSI for the new UTeach Dallas program.
ExxonMobil contributed an initial $125 million to NMSI’s efforts. Additional donors include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. NMSI is committed to the hallmarks of the UTeach program becoming the national standard for math and science teacher preparation.
“The expansion of the UTeach program at UT Dallas is another important step in improving student performance across the state of Texas,” said Janet Mountain, executive director of the Dell Foundation. “We believe Texas will continue to provide proven education models and programs that will benefit school districts across the United States.”
“As a company that employs 14,000 engineers and scientists, ExxonMobil knows how important it is to provide the best education and training possible for our nation’s young people,” said Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corp. “We are proud to be part of this important effort to begin to address the critical shortage of math and science teachers in our schools.”
The UTeach Institute was created to expand and replicate UTeach at universities in Texas and across the United States.
“We are honored to be a replication site for UTeach,” said Dr. Myron Salamon, dean of the UT Dallas School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “Our students already excel in mathematics and sciences. Our math and science education programs align very well with the approach and philosophy of the successful UTeach program, making implementation of the program at UT Dallas a natural. We have an excellent pool of talented students from which to recruit for UTeach Dallas and to produce the critical teaching talent that this region and state need.”
In addition to the grants, the UTeach Institute has developed numerous resources to help in replication efforts nationwide, including a UTeach operations manual and a framework for collecting demographic data and conducting evaluations.
The UTeach Institute will also be engaged in building a community of faculty and Master Teachers who will instruct UTeach courses to facilitate the sharing of successful practices.
“UTeach has proven to be a very successful model for preparing our next-generation science and math teachers, and we’re very excited to have the opportunity to replicate the program at universities across the Unites States,” said Dr. Mary Ann Rankin, dean of the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. “The more the program spreads, the more fine teachers we will be producing to inspire and educate our nation’s children to discover and create new science and technology for the future.”
Media contact: Meredith Dickenson, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2293, [email protected]