UTeach, the nationally acclaimed program for preparing secondary teachers in mathematics, science and computer science, is celebrating 10 years of success at The University of Texas at Austin.
UTeach was established in 1997 as a new-and-improved way of introducing undergraduate math and science majors to secondary school teaching. The program, a partnership of the colleges of Natural Sciences and Education and the Austin Independent School District, allows completion of both the bachelor’s degree and teacher certification in four years.
“Along with the rest of the nation, Texas is facing a critical shortage of math and science teachers in middle and high schools,” said Mary Ann Rankin, dean of the College of Natural Sciences. “The UTeach program explodes the myth that math and science majors at major universities are not interested in becoming teachers.”
UTeach courses integrate mastery of science and math subject matter with inquiry-based teaching. Particular attention is devoted to preparing teachers to work with students in many types of settings, from diverse backgrounds and cultures, emphasizing high-needs schools.
In the 10 years since the program was started, UTeach has graduated more than 400 math and science teachers, and more than 85 percent of them have entered teaching.
Graduates stay in teaching longer than other teachers: 70 percent are teaching five years after entering the field, compared with 50 percent nationally. About two-thirds of UTeach graduates teach in major Texas cities, and about 45 percent teach in schools with more than 40 percent low-income students.
“When UTeach was created, we knew it was a good idea,” said Manuel J. Justiz, dean of the College of Education, “but I don’t think anyone realized just how incredibly successful it would be.
“All of the parts meshed perfectly–a rigorous and challenging curriculum, commitment to nothing less than excellence, passionate teachers, visionary co-directors and truly gifted students. At this 10th anniversary of UTeach, everyone, from donors and alumni to staff and faculty, has many reasons to celebrate."
The UTeach program has been so successful it is being replicated at 12 universities across the United States and Texas, with funding from the National Math and Science Initiative and The Texas High School Project.
In celebration of UTeach’s 10-year anniversary, program graduates, current participants and supporters will gather for a town hall meeting on Saturday, Nov. 17 to discuss challenges and successes in teaching secondary math and science. Former astronaut Bernard A. Harris Jr. will speak and Texas Monthly Editor Evan Smith will moderate a panel discussion with graduates.