Secondary STEM Teacher Preparation as a Top Priority for the University of the Future: The UTeach National Replication as a Strategic Initiative

By Pamela Romero and Martha Pérez.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 4, 2014 $US5.00

National calls, such as the National Academy of Science’s Rising Above the Gathering Storm, and President Obama’s Educate to Innovate and 100Kin10, caution against the detrimental effects that a lack of math and science literacy pose to the health of the nation’s economy and call for immediate action to increase the nation’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent pool by increasing the number of K – 12 STEM teachers. A growing number of universities are responding to this challenge by adopting the UTeach program, making secondary STEM teacher production a university-wide priority through a unique cross-college collaboration. The University of Texas’ UTeach program offers both a STEM degree and secondary certification to teach math, science, or computer science in just four years. UTeach combines rigorous content preparation, pedagogy, and early field teaching experiences into four-year STEM degree plans. The UTeach Institute was established to support the implementation of the UTeach model at universities across the country and currently partners with 35 universities implementing UTeach-based programs in 17 states across the United States. As of Spring 2013, approximately 1,600 UTeach graduates have been produced and that number is expected to rise to 9,000 by 2020. Initial results indicate that UTeach implementation is creating institutional change and establishing programs that are making headway in bringing STEM teacher preparation to the forefront of each university’s mission. This article examines this scale-up experience as an example of a successful model for strengthening university-based STEM teacher preparation. Specifically, we review the implications for the university of the future, and address the necessary institutional changes required for successful program implementation. Our experience shows that successful program implementation in a university setting requires a balanced approach. Clear articulation of operational and instructional program components, structured implementation support, explicit program benchmarks and continuous evaluation of progress must be paired with an awareness of the local context and opportunities for adaptations and innovations to the model.

Keywords: Secondary STEM Teacher Preparation, UTeach Program, UTeach Institute, Change in Higher Education, Replication Model, Accountability, Education Preparation Programs

The Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 6, Issue 4, April 2014, pp.21-36. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 4, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 543.868KB)).

Pamela Romero

Associate Director, UTeach Institute, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA

Romero, Associate Director of the UTeach Institute, earned an M.S. degree in community and regional planning from UT Austin. She brings more than 15 years of experience in planning and managing evaluation projects to the Institute where she oversees the development and implementation of comprehensive program evaluation services. Pamela has worked with state agencies, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, universities, and school districts, and she has a strong understanding of various educational and political settings.

Dr. Martha Pérez

Data and Evaluation Coordinator, UTeach Institute, University of Texas at Austin, USA

Dr. Martha Pérez, Data and Evaluation Coordinator at the UTeach Institute, has dedicated over two decades to educational program evaluation and research. She has worked for educational agencies in the State of Texas and has also been a teacher in higher education environments. She currently works for the UTeach Institute, an Institute dedicated to the replication of a secondary STEM educator preparation programs, at the University of Texas at Austin.

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