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HHMI Initiative Will Help Train New Generation of Science and Math Teachers

Summary

At a briefing at the White House, HHMI announces $22.5 million, five-year grant to help major research universities train a new generation of science and mathematics teachers.

 

Highlights

  • In a briefing at the White House, HHMI announced it is investing $22.5 million over five years to help major research universities train a new generation of science and math teachers.
  • The HHMI grant will allow the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) to expand its highly regarded UTeach Program to 10 major research universities in the United States.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) announced today during a briefing at the White House that it is investing $22.5 million over five years to help major research universities train a new generation of science and mathematics teachers.

The grant from HHMI will allow the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) to expand its highly regarded UTeach Program to 10 major research universities in the United States. NMSI will soon invite eligible schools to apply for these grants. The RFP is online.

NMSI’s UTeach Program is currently implemented at 34 universities in 16 states and has enrolled more than 6,200 students in the last five years. The program is on track to train 10,000 new math and science teachers by 2020.

Our goal is to make sure that we’re providing our future STEM teachers with very strong STEM training. These teachers will influence very large numbers of future students over the course of their careers.

Sean B. Carroll

“The UTeach program is regarded as the national leader in preparing math and science undergraduates to become math and science teachers,” said HHMI President Robert Tjian. “This initiative will help NMSI scale up the UTeach program and it has the potential to significantly expand the number of students enrolled in UTeach over the next five years.”

The initiative comes at a critical time. In 2010, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) called on the United States to invest in recruiting and training 100,000 new STEM middle and high school teachers by 2020. In his most recent State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called for creative thinking in developing new partnerships that focus on boosting STEM training and education.

“Research shows—and everyone who has been a student knows—that teacher quality makes a big difference in student achievement," said John P. Holdren, President Obama's science and technology advisor and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. "That’s why the President made his all-hands-on-deck call to train 100,000 excellent STEM teachers in the next decade. And it’s why the White House is so pleased to see the commitments being made today, which promise to change the lives of countless students in the years to come.”

One of the critical challenges facing science education is to improve the science preparation of undergraduates who will become K-12 teachers. “Our goal is to make sure that we’re providing our future STEM teachers with very strong STEM training. These teachers will influence very large numbers of future students over the course of their careers,” said Sean Carroll, Vice President for Science Education at HHMI.

First developed at the University of Texas at Austin in 1997, the UTeach program has become a leader in addressing the nation’s need for a new teaching force of highly qualified instructors in STEM subjects. UTeach enables students majoring in math, science or computer science to receive both their subject-matter degree and full teaching certification in four years at no extra time or cost. Each member school receives a grant from NMSI and is expected to match the grant from other sources. After five years, the school is expected to sustain the program by itself.

According to NMSI, about 85 percent of certified UTeach graduates go on to teach immediately at the K-12 levels in mathematics, science, or computer science. About 70 percent of UTeach teachers remain in the profession after five years, compared with less than 50 percent nationally.

“This is going to transform the preparation of math and science teachers,” said Sara Martinez Tucker, President and CEO of NMSI. “By taking the UTeach program into 10 more research universities, we will be able to recruit some of the best and brightest students in our country into the teaching field.”

Carroll noted that the new initiative fits well with HHMI’s longstanding commitment to catalyzing change in science education. Since 1988, the Institute has awarded more than $870 million to 274 colleges and universities to support science education. HHMI support has enabled nearly 85,000 students nationwide to work in research labs and developed programs that have helped 100,000 K-12 teachers learn how to teach science more effectively.

Under the terms of the HHMI grant, $20 million will enable the universities to join UTeach; $1.25 million will support NMSI’s development of curricula and assessment for the UTeach program; and $1.25 million will support UTeach schools that choose to adopt HHMI’s successful Science Education Alliance PHAGES laboratory course, a national year-long course that engages undergraduates in authentic research.

HHMI’s grant is aimed at schools classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as having “very high” or “high” research activity. For more information, please visitwww.nationalmathandscience.org

About the Howard Hughes Medical Institute

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute plays a powerful role in advancing scientific research and education in the United States. Its scientists, located across the United States and around the world, have made important discoveries that advance both human health and our fundamental understanding of biology. The Institute also aims to transform science education into a creative, interdisciplinary endeavor that reflects the excitement of real research. www.hhmi.org

About National Math and Science Initiative: NMSI, a non-profit organization, was launched in 2007 by top leaders in business, education, and science to transform math and science education in the United States. NMSI has gained national recognition for training K-12 teachers across the country to inspire students to succeed in math, science and English classes as well as recruiting more college students to become dedicated math and science teachers through the highly successful UTeach program. NMSI’s Advanced Placement program is increasing achievement in 462 schools in 18 states and the UTeach program is transforming teacher preparation in 34 universities in 16 states.

NMSI has received major funding support for its groundbreaking national initiatives from Exxon Mobil Corporation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, with additional support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and Lockheed Martin Corporation. For more information, please visit  www.nationalmathandscience.org.

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Jim Keeley
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Robert Gutnikoff
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