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.
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.
"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."
SMTI was announced in November 2008.
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.
NASULGC member institutions, the leading public and land-grant universities in each state, educate the largest cohort of undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics students on research-intensive campuses with influential colleges of education. By committing to this effort, NASULGC-member institutions are responding to the call for 10,000 new science and mathematics teachers in the National Academies report, Rising Above The Gathering Storm.
The teacher imperative has been supported by grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the National Science Foundation, NASULGC and in-kind contributions of faculty from several universities.
Founded in 1887, NASULGC, is an association of public research universities, land-grant institutions and many state public university systems. Its 218 members enroll more than 4.7 million students and award nearly one million degrees annually. With nearly $30 billion in research, NASULGC-member universities comprise 10 of the top 20 universities in total federal spending on research and development in science and engineering. As the nation’s oldest higher education association, NASULGC is dedicated to excellence in learning, discovery and engagement.