Science and mathematics education in Texas will soon enjoy a major boost, thanks to a $699,663 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
The grant award stems from the Coordinating Board’s Educator Quality Division and supports a proposal put forth by Dr. Robert C. Hilborn, head of UT Dallas’s Science/Mathematics Education Department, and a team of 11 UT Dallas faculty educators.
The funding creates a “Teacher Preparation Academy,” which links the existing UTeach Dallas program and the Master of Arts in Teaching Science and Mathematics, a program that has served experienced teachers for more than 30 years.
“Earning the award was a recognition of the quality of the established masters' program here and the unique features of the UTeach Dallas program,” Hilborn said. “In addition, UT Dallas has had active partnerships with the local school districts for many years, which strongly enhanced our grant proposal.”
The funding covers tuition for 25 existing teachers to pursue their master’s degrees while being paired as mentors to 25 UTeach students.
The UTeach program introduces undergraduate math and science majors to secondary school teaching. Compact degree plans, early teaching experiences and financial assistance allows UTeach students the opportunity to investigate a career teaching math, science and computer science.The vast majority of UTeach graduates start teaching immediately after graduation.
“Undergraduate involvement is a critical part of this new Teacher Preparation Academy,” Hilborn said. “These students benefit by working closely with real teachers who have ample classroom experience and a great deal of wisdom to impart. Learning from experienced teachers has always been important to our students.”
Each mentor/mentee pair will be part of a bi-weekly seminar series that will address issues in science/math education, such as, how to do classroom demonstrations effectively, where to turn for sound career advice, how to make use of informal science education opportunities and how to encourage the next generation of science/math educators.
“Teachers who go through the Academy will earn a master’s degree and enhance their content knowledge, becoming up-to-date with the latest techniques for teaching science and math,” Hilborn said.
Dallas ISD, Richardson ISD, Garland ISD, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD and Plano ISD are eligible to nominate five teachers each from their respective districts. The program begins in the fall of 2009 with teachers earning their Masters of Arts in Teaching Science and Mathematics in May 2011.