UTeach Dallas Awarded Support for Master Teachers
Texas Instruments Foundation Funding to Help Mentor Future Science Teachers
Sept. 10, 2009
Increasing the supply of qualified math and science teachers in America’s secondary schools received a big boost Wednesday when the Texas Instruments (TI) Foundation awarded a $450,000 grant to UTeach Dallas.
The award is part of a $3 million commitment from the foundation to address the shortage of quality math and science teachers.
UTeach Dallas is part of the nationally recognized UTeach program launched by UT Austin and replicated by the National Math and Science Initiative, a public-private partnership aimed at strengthening math and science education in the United States. UTeach was created to recruit and increase the number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors interested in becoming new secondary science or mathematics teachers.
“We believe that teachers are the key. We can’t expect to educate the students our state and nation need without more and better trained math and science teachers,” said Sam Self, chairman of the Texas Instruments Foundation. “We’re investing in proven programs to address both quality and quantity of STEM teachers.”
The funding for UTeach Dallas will help support three Master Teachers. Each Master Teacher will mentor about 50 undergraduate STEM students. Master Teachers must have at least a master’s degree in a STEM subject and have spent at least three years in secondary public schools.
“The unexpectedly rapid growth in UTeach Dallas requires us to hire a third, and probably a fourth master teacher this year and next,” said Dr. Myron Salamon, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “We are grateful to the TI Foundation for this grant, which will provide salary support for these added master teachers. The funding ensures that our UTeach students are closely mentored as they balance between the requirements of their degree programs and the additional demands they must meet to qualify for teaching credentials.”
Nationally, 15 universities are implementing UTeach programs. UTeach Dallas launched in the spring of 2008 with just a handful of students. By this fall, the number of students in the program had leapt to 135.
“The generous grant from the TI Foundation will allow UTeach Dallas to meet the phenomenal demand we have experienced from our talented pool of STEM undergraduates,” said Dr. Mary Urquhart, UTeach Dallas co-director and associate professor of science education.
Starting with their very first course as freshmen, students are immersed in local classrooms and given the chance to teach science or mathematics lessons. These early, hands-on experiences attract students to teaching before they graduate.
UTeach students can take their teacher preparatory classes while completing their degree programs, which allows them to graduate with both a degree and a teacher certification in hand. Students are offered financial incentives, including limited tuition reimbursement, paid internships and scholarships.
“The UTeach Dallas program is growing rapidly and attracting the best of UT Dallas’ talented math and science students,” said Dr. Robert Hilborn, head of science/mathematics education. “The caliber of students in this program is exceptional, with UTeach Dallas students earning grade point averages even higher than the average for UT Dallas students overall—which is really saying something at this university.”
From left: Dr. Homer Montgomery, co-director, UTeach Dallas;
Dr. Robert Hilborn, head of science/mathematics education;
Bill Gammons, master teacher, UTeach Dallas;
Dr. Mary Urquhart, co-director, UTeach Dallas; and
Bill Neal, master teacher, UTeach Dallas.
Launched: Spring 2008
First graduates: Estimated spring 2011
Teachers still instructing five years after graduation: 80 percent of UTeach graduates vs. 52 percent of graduates nationally.
Majors: Accounting, applied mathematics, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, computer engineering, electrical engineering, geosciences, interdisciplinary studies, mathematical sciences, molecular biology, neuroscience, physics, psychology, statistics