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Hale wins national UTeach award for teaching excellence

Greg Hale, UTeach Arlington co-director and assistant dean of science
Greg Hale, UTeach Arlington co-director and assistant dean of science

A co-director of UTA’s highly successful UTeach Arlington program has been named recipient of a prestigious award by the national UTeach STEM Education Association.

Greg Hale, UTeach Arlington co-director and assistant dean of science, received the UTeach STEM Education Association’s (USEA) 2018 Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award. The award was presented to Hale during the 12th Annual UTeach National Conference, held May 22-24 in Austin.

UTeach is a science and mathematics secondary teacher preparation program which began at UT Austin in 1997 to address the need for more highly qualified science and math teachers. It allows students to earn a teaching certificate in science or mathematics while also earning a bachelor’s degree, all in a four-year time frame. In the two decades since, replication programs have been created at universities nationwide, including at UTA.

The program utilizes early field experiences in K-12 schools, the use of experienced Master Teachers as instructors, and mentor teachers in local school districts.

“I am humbled to have been singled out from among the faculty teaching in UTeach programs across 44 universities in the U.S.,” Hale said. “We know that DFW school districts are in need of well-prepared STEM teachers who will persist in the field, and we know that the UTeach model produces such teachers.”

Hale was instrumental in raising funds for the creation of the UTeach Arlington program, which started  in 2010 and had its first graduating class in 2014. The program has increased secondary mathematics and science teacher production at UTA by 500 percent. He was named one of three UTeach co-directors along with Ramon Lopez, professor of physics, and Ann Cavallo, Distinguished University Professor of Science Education in the College of Education, with Hale serving as the day-to-day managing co-director since the program’s inception.

“Dr. Hale has been an integral part of the UTeach Arlington program from its creation, so it is wonderful to see him being recognized with this award,” College of Science Dean Morteza Khaledi said. “He has worked tirelessly to secure funding for the program and the work that he, Dr. Lopez, Dr. Cavallo and their colleagues have done has made UTeach Arlington into the tremendous success it is.

“Training students who will become highly knowledgeable and enthusiastic science and mathematics secondary teachers is of tremendous importance because they are the ones who will be teaching the next generation of high school students. Dr. Hale’s efforts to facilitate this through UTeach Arlington have been tremendous and are most worthy of this recognition.”

In the UTeach program, Hale has been lead instructor for the Research Methods course nine times and a co-instructor twice, and thus has been able to work with almost every UTeach Arlington graduate. Over his career, Hale has been the sole or lead instructor for nearly 180 lecture course sections, but he says Research Methods is still a whirlwind every semester.

“Getting to know almost all of our UTeach Arlington students as instructor of our Research Methods course has been extremely gratifying because I am able to observe the quality of character of the STEM teachers we are sending into the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex,” Hale said. “Knowing that our graduates will have long and successful careers as teachers, while also being excellent role models for their students, makes all the hard work of building and sustaining our program worth it.”

Hale earned a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh in 1999 and joined the UTA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as a lecturer and undergraduate advisor that same year. In his seven years in the department, he taught a total of 63 lecture courses and advised about 200 majors per semester.

In 2000, he was recruited to help teach in a master’s program for science teachers that launched in 2001. In the next few years, he became more involved in the teaching of courses in this program and in its administration alongside his responsibilities in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

In May 2006 Hale was named director of the Science Education and Career Center and assistant dean of science. In these roles, he has been principal investigator for grants and gifts totaling more than $5 million and co-principal investigator for an additional $6.5 million. In addition to funding the creation of UTeach Arlington, this money has fueled projects including summer camps which have served over 600 residential campers and 150 day campers; and scholarships for dozens of science teachers pursuing master’s degrees.

In 2008 he launched the UTA Science Ambassadors program, in which high-achieving College of Science students put on fun chemistry demonstrations and which has served over 130,000 K-12 students. In 2013, UTA began collaborating with Arlington ISD to create and support the STEM Academy at Martin High School that launched in 2015, and Hale played a lead role in vertically and horizontally aligning STEM coursework between the STEM Academy and UTA instructors.