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STEM Teacher Prep Program Expands to 44 Universities

Five more universities have been added to the current list of 39 institutions of higher education associated with the National Math and Science Initiative's (NMSI) UTeach Expansion science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teacher preparation program.

Beginning in fall 2015, George Washington University, Louisiana Tech University, the University of Massachusetts Boston, the University of Nevada Reno and West Virginia University will receive $1.45 million each over a five-year period. The UTeach program allows students to receive both degrees in their STEM majors and teaching certification at the same time, filling the pipeline of science and math teachers to secondary schools more quickly.

The five universities are the latest recipients of a $22.5-million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to support STEM teacher training for secondary schools. Five other recipient universities — Drexel University, Florida International University, Oklahoma State University, University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of Maryland College Park — were announced earlier this year.

"There's a shortage of good science and math teachers in classrooms," said HHMI President Robert Tjian. "We must continue to take steps to replenish this country's star teachers, teachers who can move students to explore and love math and science."

According to the NMSI, with the latest round of funding, UTeach will reach 44 universities in 21 states and the District of Columbia. The program's goal is to produce about 8,300 secondary math and science teachers who will teach a projected 4.8 million high school students by 2020. 

The UTeach program was started in 2007 at The University of Texas at Austin to address the need for a higher number of qualified STEM teachers.

"With each new university joining UTeach, our community of scientists, mathematicians, science and math educators grows," said Michael Marder, executive director of the UTeach program at UT Austin. 

Sara Martinez Tucker, CEO of NMSI, said "The UTeach program is a proven way to ensure teachers are equipped with the STEM content knowledge and instructional expertise needed to be effective in the classroom."

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.

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