Public Release:  UH receives $1 million endowment to train math, science teachers

ExxonMobil funds endowment to teachHOUSTON through national math and science initiative

University of Houston

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IMAGE: Pictured from left to right are students who have benefitted from University of Houston's teachHOUSTON program: Maria Gonzales, Sara Barber, Vinh Nguyen, Maria Martinez and Keri King. view more

Credit: Thomas Campbell

HOUSTON, June 6, 2013 - A $1 million endowment funded by the ExxonMobil Corporation will help the University of Houston (UH) teachHOUSTON program continue training the next generation of secondary science and math teachers. The endowment is part of a matching program coordinated through the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), an organization that focuses on the most critical element in education - teaching.

"The teachHOUSTON program had to raise $1 million in its endowment to qualify for the matching funds," said Jeff Morgan, co-director of teachHOUSTON. "This gift will have a tremendous impact in future years as these and other funds grow in our endowment."

A partnership between UH's College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the College of Education, this teacher-preparation program is changing the way science and math teachers are trained. Instead of one student-teaching experience in their senior year, teachHOUSTON students have teaching opportunities throughout their four years at UH, with rotations at local elementary, middle and high schools.

The program is producing secondary teachers who are better suited to prepare their students for rigorous college courses in math and sciences, as well as for careers in science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) fields.

"Our students are getting degrees in a STEM area and getting training that is specific to teaching STEM," said Morgan, who is UH's interim associate provost for education innovation and technology. "They get field-based experiences from their first year, so our students have much more exposure to teaching before they get their first teaching job."

UH's teachHOUSTON program started in 2007 with 14 students. It was the first replication of a program at the University of Texas called UTeach. Now, 33 universities across the nation replicate the UTeach program. With nearly 340 students enrolled, teachHOUSTON graduated more than 40 teachers this year. Morgan says the goal is to graduate 100 teachers per year.

"If you look across all the replication sites, 80 percent of the teachers graduated are still in the classroom five years out. That is significant," Morgan said. "Almost all our graduates stay in Houston and work in our local school districts. It's a win-win situation. Local industry will benefit from improved math and science teaching in area schools, and UH will benefit from it, as well."

Ultimately, the real beneficiaries are the thousands of students who will be taught by teachHOUSTON graduates, Morgan says. Adding, "kids deserve to have good instruction, and this program can make a difference."

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Editor's note: Story courtesy of Kathy Major, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

About the University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation's best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 40,700 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country. For more information about UH, visit the university's newsroom at http://www.uh.edu/news-events/.

About the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

The UH College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, with 187 ranked faculty and more than 5,000 students, offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in the natural sciences, computational sciences and mathematics. Faculty members in the departments of biology and biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, earth and atmospheric sciences, mathematics and physics conduct internationally recognized research in collaboration with industry, Texas Medical Center institutions, NASA and others worldwide.

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