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Increasing science, math teachers in U.S.

February 19, 2009

The lack of highly qualified science and mathematics teachers in middle and high school classrooms across America is a crisis that is well established. If the United States is to remain a leader in engineering, technology and innovation in the global market place, the state of science and mathematics education must be reversed, according to the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.

The presidents of 74 public universities and 11 university systems representing an additional 33 campuses have taken a bold step toward reversing the crisis by formally committing to the Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative, called SMTI, developed by the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, or NASULGC, a public university association.

Best practices for teacher prep

SMTI institutions commit to increase substantially the diverse pool of highly qualified science and mathematics teachers in their states. Institutions will work with appropriate state agencies to identify their immediate and longer-term needs for high school teachers. They will bolster partnerships among universities, school systems, state governments and other entities to address statewide needs and share best practices for the preparation of teachers.

Colorado State University's contact on the SMTI committee is April Mason, dean of the College of Applied Human Sciences (pictured at right).

"Colorado State University has the full complement of programs to license teachers in the science, mathematics, engineering and technology areas, and the university fully recognizes the importance of qualified educators in schools teaching these courses," Mason said. "We are pleased to play a role in this important endeavor."

Share lessons learned 

NASULGC is also forming The Leadership Collaborative, a group of 27 institutions drawn from universities making the commitment to SMTI. The collaborative will examine ways to strengthen science teacher preparation at their institutions and work more intensively to enhance the priority of teacher preparation and disseminate lessons learned throughout the community.

TLC activities have been funded by a $1.5 million, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation's Math and Science Partnership: Research, Evaluation and Technical Assistance. TLC will help universities identify and address institutional constraints that impede effective and sustained secondary science and mathematics teacher preparation programs. The research outcomes will be disseminated through the Internet, collaborative meetings and sharing of technical assistance. Sixty-one institutions applied to join TLC. 

Read the full news release.

Contact: Dell Rae Moellenberg
Phone: (970) 491-6009