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Volume 64, Issue 1

January 22, 2010

UCCS launches effort to build science teachers

UCCS will join other leading universities working to increase the number of math and science teachers in the U.S. by offering the nationally regarded UTeach program this year.

UCCS was recently selected as an expansion site for UTeach, a successful program developed in 1997 at the University of Texas. The program was replicated in 13 universities in 2008-2009 and is being expanded to 20 universities across the country this year as part of the National Math and Science Initiative. It was announced at a special event at the White House Jan. 6 that UCCS will be added to the program in 2010-11 along with universities in Ohio, Texas, and Tennessee.

At UCCS, the faculty and leadership of the College of Letters, Arts and Science and College of Education collaborated to recommend the UTeach Program as a way to create more science and math teachers and to provide professional development for teachers already in Colorado classrooms.

UCCS faculty members Catherine Kelly, associate professor, Education, and Rinaldo Schinazi, professor, Math, will co-direct the program with collaboration from Barbara Frye, assistant professor, Education, and director of the teacher education and licensure program. The program is designed to help students earn bachelor’s degrees in math or science and to complete courses required to be licensed as a Colorado elementary or secondary school teacher at no extra time or cost. The UTeach program will also work closely with the UCCS Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education which seeks to enhance the workforce of scientists and engineers.

“A hallmark of the Teacher Education and Licensure Program at UCCS is culturally responsive teaching,” Kelly said. “This partnership will the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences will infuse these tenets across content areas and positively affect student outcomes.”

Schinazi noted that U.S. students are behind students in other industrialized nations in math and science knowledge.

“I believe that as a state university one of our missions is to supply Colorado with high-quality K-12 educators,” Schinazi said. “There has been a shortage of math teachers in Colorado and the nation for some time. UTeach is a great way to address the problem.”
Funding for the new program was provided by a private donor who asked to remain anonymous.

The UTeach program allows students to graduate in four years with both deep content knowledge as well as teaching certification. More than 90 percent of students who participate in the UTeach program become teachers with more than 80 percent remaining in the classroom after five years, according to program administrators.
More than 2,100 math and science majors are currently enrolled in the program. Projections indicate that by 2018 UTeach programs around the country will have produced an estimated 7,000 new math and science teachers. Those teachers will have affected more than 20 million students in the course of the new teachers’ careers.
At UCCS, the program will begin for the fall 2010 semester. Interested current math and science students will complete bachelor’s degrees and complete approximately four semesters course work required for teacher licensure. Scholarships will be provided for the education coursework. Students interested in the program should contact Kelly, (719) 255-4339.

At the special event at the White House earlier this month, President Barack Obama recognized the expansion of the UTeach program, announcing a $250 million public-private effort to improve science and mathematics instruction to enable the U.S. to compete in key fields with global economic rivals. UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak attended the event.

Private supporters of UTeach include the Exxon Mobil Corporation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Texas Instruments Foundation, among many others.

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs, is one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. The University offers 34 bachelor's degrees, 19 master's and five doctoral degrees. The campus enrolls about 8,500 students annually.

Communique is the online newsletter for UCCS faculty and staff. It is published weekly during the fall and spring semesters, monthly during the summer semester. Communique is sent to faculty and staff e-mail lists and, by request, to other e-mail addresses. Previous issues are available in the Communique Archives at, and the current issue is always at Suggestions and comments are welcome. Send ideas to or call Tom Hutton, 255-3439.

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