UT Dallas Joins National Network to Grow STEM Teaching Force
March 21, 2016
From left: UTeach Dallas students Brea Baygents, Bernadette Charba, Alex Kangethe, Udit Bhatt and Zachary Regetz learn the ins-and-outs of managing a middle school science lab experience.
UT Dallas has been selected to join a national network of organizations and universities dedicated to bringing 100,000 new exceptional science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers into classrooms by 2021.
The University’s Department of Science and Mathematics Education, housed in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, recently joined 100Kin10, a network of more than 280 businesses, nonprofits, foundations and academic institutions aimed at recruiting, preparing and retaining K-12 STEM teachers.
“We’re absolutely thrilled with the recognition and honor that membership in 100Kin10 provides for the entire suite of programs within our department,” said Dr. Mary Urquhart, associate professor and head of the Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
The department is home to several initiatives aimed at producing and supporting K-12 science and math teachers. Through the UTeach Dallas program, for example, students graduate with a BS or BA degree in a STEM field while also earning their teacher certification. After graduation, these new teachers are provided additional support, called induction, for three years, receiving one-on-one mentoring, professional development and supplies.
UTeach Dallas enrolls about 350 UT Dallas students. Since the first cohort graduated in 2011, the program has generated more than 120 alumni. UTeach Dallas graduates in the classroom are reaching more than 12,000 children this year, and more than 90 percent of alumni remain teachers five years after graduation.
“Our UTeach Dallas STEM teacher preparation program is a key player in producing and retaining high-quality STEM teachers for schools in the Dallas area,” said Katie Donaldson, assistant director of UTeach Dallas and one of the program’s Master Teachers.
Lisha Haughton BS’13 (left), a science teacher at J.J. Pearce High School in Richardson, discusses a genetics lesson with Dr. Mary Urquhart during a professional development workshop held on campus by the UT Dallas Texas Regional Collaborative for Excellence in Science Teaching.
UT Dallas also offers Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree programs in both science education and mathematics education, which provide a STEM content-focused curriculum interwoven with pedagogical best practices, skill enhancement and extensive classroom-ready resources for K–12 teaching. Many MAT graduates become classroom mentors to UTeach Dallas students.
Additionally, programs offered through the UT Dallas Texas Regional Collaborative for Excellence in Science Teaching strive to retain and enhance STEM teachers already in local classrooms. The UT Dallas Collaborative, directed by Urquhart, is part of a statewide network of similar programs providing high-quality professional development. The UT Dallas program includes 100-plus hours of classroom instruction on weekends and during the summer; classroom technology and teaching materials; MAT tuition assistance; and additional services at no cost to participants or school partners.
“The programs offered through our department provide incredible training opportunities that allow beginning teachers and experienced teachers to network and grow their skills with other like-minded STEM teachers in the area,” Urquhart said. “Each and every one of our family of programs owes its success to the outstanding dedication of the faculty and our many partnerships and funders. We look forward to expanding partnerships and opportunities for the future through membership in 100Kin10.”
As a partner in 100Kin10, the department will have access to exclusive research, learning, innovation and funding opportunities, all designed to foster collaborative problem-solving and to support partners in fulfilling their commitments toward the 100,000 STEM teacher goal.
Organizations are accepted as 100Kin10 partners after a rigorous vetting process conducted by a team of partner reviewers and a national panel of experts in education and STEM.
“It's so important to engage kids with science early, and make it interesting, fun and applicable to their lives as they progress through school,” said Dr. Bruce Novak, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Distinguished Chair in Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “The economic, intellectual and innovation-driven success of our nation depends in large part on having top-quality STEM education in K-12 classrooms. But the first step in accomplishing that is training, retaining and supporting exceptional science and math teachers. Our Department of Science and Mathematics Education has documented tremendous success in this, and to be accepted to the 100Kin10 organization is a much deserved recognition of those efforts.”
Letter Accepting UT Dallas to 100Kin10
“The University of Texas at Dallas Department of Science and Mathematics Education was accepted because of the strength and significance of your commitment, your organizational capacity and leadership, and your ability and desire to contribute to the 100Kin10 goal and network. The review panel specifically called out your organizational strength and impressive staff, as well as your 90 percent retention rate. You display the ambition and commitment necessary to make our goal a reality.”
— Talia Milgrom-Elcott, 100Kin10 executive director