UT’s Award-Winning Teacher Education Program Goes (Even More) National

The U.S. faces a shortage of 283,000 science and math teachers by 2015. Increasingly, educators are agreeing that one of the best ways to bridge that gap is a program that started on the Forty Acres.


The National Math and Science Initiative announced this week that five more universities will adopt the UTeach model—a unique program known for attracting top STEM students to the teaching field and putting them through a rigorous but supportive four years of training. And the program gets results: more than 80 percent of UTeach grads are still teaching five years after graduation, compared to just 46 percent nationally.

UTeach has been so successful that 35 other universities (not including the five announced this week) have already started their own UTeach programs. By 2015, educators are looking to have the program in 45 universities across the country. Not bad for what began in 1997 as a small experiment with just 28 students.

Drexel University, Florida International University, Oklahoma State University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the University of Maryland, College Park will each receive $1.45 million from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to start their own UTeach programs.

Kim Hughes, director of the UTeach institute at UT, says much of the program’s success comes from its ability to get some of the nation’s best STEM students to consider teaching. “We’re able to attract really high-quality STEM students into the program, because they don’t have to give up their STEM major,” she explains. “And we pair master teachers with research faculty and support students for all four years.”

Hughes says that 6,900 students are currently enrolled in UTeach across the country. “By 2020, we will have 9,000 graduates, and they will have impacted 4.8 million students,” she says. “But 9,000 is still under 10 percent of President Obama’s goal, which is 100,000 STEM teachers by 2021. So there’s still a lot of work to do.”

Illustration by Melissa Reese


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