RUSTON, La. - The National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) have awarded Louisiana Tech University a $1.45 million grant to support teacher preparation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, as part of the national UTeach program.
Louisiana Tech is one of just five universities nationwide selected to receive the highly-competitive grant and to join an exclusive national network of research universities in the expansion of the UTeach teacher preparation program. The funding is made possible by a $22.5 million grant from the HHMI. The other awardees are George Washington University, the University of Massachusetts-Boston, the University of Nevada-Reno and West Virginia University.
"Louisiana Tech's interdisciplinary approach to STEM education has allowed our faculty to work across Colleges and fields of study to create new opportunities for our graduates and produce outstanding teachers for our state," said Louisiana Tech President Les Guice. "I'd like to thank and congratulate the administrators, faculty and community partners who worked so well together to position Louisiana Tech for this grant. We have an outstanding team of educators who understand the importance of preparing our students to teach future generations of leaders and innovators in these high-demand fields."
The UTeach program was established to address the pressing need for a greater number of highly qualified STEM teachers. The program recruits college students studying STEM subjects into secondary teaching careers by enabling them to receive both a degree in their major and teaching certification without additional time or cost, preparing them with a field-intensive curriculum, and promoting retention through induction support and ongoing professional development.
Louisiana Tech will use the $1.45 million grant, provided over a five year period, to produce more highly-effective secondary math and science teachers who will in turn inspire, engage, and excite new generations of students about careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The UTeach program will not only help to increase enrollment at Louisiana Tech and enable it to prepare more STEM educators, it will also ensure that the teachers, scientists and mathematicians that emerge from Louisiana Tech will recognize the vital role that education plays in our society, particularly with respect to industry and the economy.
"Needless to say, I am very excited about Louisiana Tech University being awarded the UTeach replication grant," said Dr. Don Schillinger, interim dean of the College of Education. "The award is the culmination of nearly two years of collaborative effort by representatives of the Colleges of Applied and Natural Sciences, Education, Engineering, and Liberal Arts, as well as many divisions within the university.
"I am especially gratified that the university, under President Guice's leadership, is demonstrating its commitment to P-12 education, specifically STEM education, through its support of this endeavor."
Schillinger says Louisiana Tech is looking forward to working with partners such as the Cyber Innovation Center and the Bossier, Caddo, Lincoln and Ouachita Parish school districts to increase the number of highly-qualified STEM teachers through this transformative project.
Universities participating in the UTeach program were selected through a competitive Request for Proposal process. Eligibility was limited to universities classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as having "high" or "very high" research activity.
"Recognized across Louisiana and throughout the region for its high performance and outstanding return on investment, Louisiana Tech University relies on its collaborative and interdisciplinary culture to implement innovative and bold programs such as UTeach," said Dr. Stan Napper, vice president for research and development at Louisiana Tech. "The rigorous, research-based instruction integrated with hands on, project based learning that defines the UTeach program is a perfect match for what we believe, encourage, and enact at Louisiana Tech University."
With Louisiana Tech and the other four newly-selected institutions, the UTeach program will be implemented in 44 universities across 21 states and the District of Columbia. Collectively, the UTeach programs at these universities are expected to produce an estimated 8,300 secondary math and science teachers who will teach a projected 4.8 million students by 2020.
"NMSI is committed to building a pipeline of skilled students and teachers to meet the nation's need for a STEM-capable citizenry and workforce," said Sara Martinez Tucker, CEO of NMSI. "The UTeach expansion initiative is a proven way to ensure teachers are equipped with the STEM content knowledge and instructional expertise needed to be effective in the classroom."