National UTeach program expansion includes University of Nevada, Reno

National Math + Science Initiative, UTeach Institute and Howard Hughes Medical Institute announce partnerships set to produce 8,300 math and science teachers nationally

National UTeach program expansion includes University of Nevada, Reno

National Math + Science Initiative, UTeach Institute and Howard Hughes Medical Institute announce partnerships set to produce 8,300 math and science teachers nationally

The National Math and Science Initiative announced Tuesday, Dec. 2 that five research institutions, including the University of Nevada, Reno, have been selected to join a national network of universities in the expansion of the UTeach science, technology, engineering and math teacher preparation program.

The UTeach program recruits college students studying STEM subjects into secondary teaching careers. It enables 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.

"We are fully committed to the UTeach program's over-arching objective to increase the number of STEM secondary education teachers who have degrees in STEM subjects," Ken Coll, dean at the University's College of Education, said. "UTeach is a best practice for meeting this critical shortage and has been highly successful at increasing math and science education graduates at universities in 16 states throughout the U.S."  

UTeach will be a joint effort between the University's College of Education, College of Engineering and College of Science. The program is designed with an exclusive focus on secondary STEM teaching and learning and increases a student's career options by offering a dual degree and teaching certification. Along with the University, George Washington University; Louisiana Tech University; the University of Massachusetts Boston; and West Virginia University will offer the program beginning in fall 2015.  

"The University of Nevada, Reno will be the first to implement this model in our region," Coll said. "We will specifically and collaboratively work with Nevada school districts in identifying and encouraging their graduates to pursue careers in secondary education through the UTeach model, and by working together to provide meaningful pre-service math and science teaching opportunities in the state for our UTeach students."

The UTeach Expansion Program was created in 2007 in partnership with the UTeach Institute at The University of Texas at Austin to address the pressing need for a greater number of highly qualified STEM teachers. Universities were selected to participate in the UTeach program through a competitive Request for Proposal process. Eligibility was limited to schools classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as having "high" or "very high" research activity.  

The program expansion was made possible by a $22.5 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. As part of the grant, each university will receive $1.45 million during a five-year grant period to support implementation costs of the program.  

The HHMI grant was awarded to the National Math and Science Initiative in 2013 to support expansion of the UTeach program to 10 research universities. The first five of those schools-Drexel University, Florida International University, Oklahoma State University, University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of Maryland, College Park-were announced in early 2014. With the five newly selected schools, 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.

"With each new university joining UTeach, our community of scientists, mathematicians, science and math educators, and former and future teachers grows stronger," Michael Marder, executive director of the UTeach Science Program at The University of Texas at Austin, said. "We are very grateful that our collaboration with NMSI and HHMI is making this new expansion possible."

The UTeach program was founded in 1997 at The University of Texas at Austin to attract bright science and math majors into secondary teaching careers. Created as a collaborative effort between the Colleges of Natural Sciences and Education, the program addresses both the shortage of qualified secondary STEM teachers as well as the quality of those entering the teaching field.  

"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," Sara Martinez Tucker, CEO of NMSI, said. "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."

The University's UTeach Program will be called NevadaTeach. Next steps for NevadaTeach include new proposed curriculum, a visit with the UTeach steering team, the hiring of a Master Teacher, fundraising for the matching grant, and the development of a long-term sustainability plan.  

"This program creates a recognized national presence for the University," Coll said. "This means we're one of the leading institutions in the country in math and science education."

For more information about UTeach visit

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