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UT Arlington commits to increase pool of science and mathematics teachers

News Release — 11 February 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media contact: Sue Stevens, Senior Media Relations Officer, (817) 272-3317, sstevens@uta.edu

ARLINGTON - The acute shortage of highly qualified science and mathematics teachers in middle and high school classrooms in Texas and throughout America is well-known. Many have suggested this shortage is an impending crisis that threatens the United States' leadership in science and technology.

In response to that critical need, The University of Texas at Arlington is one of 107 U.S. universities that have committed to the Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative (SMTI) developed by NASULGC, A Public University Association. SMTI institutions commit to increase substantially a diverse pool of highly qualified science and mathematics teachers in their states. Member institutions were announced Feb. 5.

"This program is significant because it allows each university to develop self-imposed goals and then create a matrix on how those goals would be met," said Donald R. Bobbitt, UT Arlington provost and vice president of academic affairs.  

"UT Arlington set very high goals," Bobbitt said. "We committed to double the number of teaching graduates in science and math fields within the next 10 years."

Bobbitt said that President James D. Spaniolo and College of Education Dean Jeanne Gerlach are committed to achieving the goal. In 2008, the University had a total of 39 teaching graduates in science and math fields.

"We all agree that this initiative is critical for the future of the state of Texas and for the whole country," Bobbitt said.

One other University of Texas System institution, The University of San Antonio, also is participating in the program. Institutions will work with appropriate state agencies to identify their immediate and longer term needs for high school teachers.  They will bolster partnerships among universities, school systems, state governments and other entities to address statewide needs and share best practices for the preparation of teachers. 

NASULGC-member institutions, the leading public and land-grant universities in each state, educate the largest cohort of undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students, on research-intensive campuses with influential colleges of education. By committing to this effort, NASULGC-member institutions are responding to the call for 10,000 new science and mathematics teachers in the National Academies report, Rising above the Gathering Storm. 

The teacher imperative has been supported by grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASULGC and in-kind contributions of faculty from several universities.

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