NAU awarded $3.4 million to increase math and science teachers

December 10, 2007

By Flinn Foundation

As the nation grapples with an increasing need for scientists, engineers and technical experts, Northern Arizona University finds itself perfectly poised to attract and retain qualified teachers who will draw students into these fields. Gov. Janet Napolitano [and NAU president John Haeger] today announced that NAU is one of 12 colleges and universities in the nation, and the only one in the state, to receive a multimillion-dollar grant that has the potential to more than double the number of science and math teachers NAU currently is producing. “This grant demonstrates how education performance is directly tied to economic performance,” Napolitano said. “By fostering innovation in our classrooms, we can regain our status as a global leader in scientific discovery.”

The $3.4 million grant will replicate a program modeled after the highly successful UTeach program established at the University of Texas at Austin in 1997. The National Math and Science Initiative awarded $2.4 million funded by ExxonMobil, while the Helios Education Foundation contributed an additional $1 million. The UTeach program introduces undergraduate math and science majors to elementary and secondary school teaching by offering compact degree plans, early teaching experiences and financial assistance. The model has been shown to dramatically increase student recruitment into math and science teaching, while increasing the retention rate of graduates to 84 percent after four years, compared to only 60 percent nationally.

“This gives us a platform to raise the quantity and quality of math and science teachers in Arizona’s schools,” said Julie Gess-Newsome, director of NAU’s Center for Science Teaching and Learning, which, together with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, will administer the program under the name of NAUTeach. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]