Preparing the next generation of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) educators, UTeachTech began with an idea, a grant, and a lot of work and research in curriculum preparation. The goal: pair the University’s esteemed engineering and science programs with its outstanding teaching preparation programs to develop a single, interdisciplinary degree program that provides tomorrow’s educators with both the knowledge they need to work effectively in industry and the skill set necessary to lead in the classroom.
The first four fruits of UTeachTech’s labor have blossomed. The first four UTeachTech students are currently student teaching and on track to graduate in May.
They are Nicole Schubert of West Monroe, Allison Free of Ruston, Chase Sanders of Shreveport, and Justin Biggs of Winnsboro. Free came to Tech to become a math teacher; her three fellow pace-setting UTeachTech friends were originally majoring in engineering fields. During each student’s final year of UTeachTech, the program intersects with Tech’s TEaM model – Teacher Educators and Mentors – a clinical residency program that places each future teacher inside a classroom with a mentor teacher for an entire school year. An early concern of UTeachTech was that it might be too draining a task to be accomplished in four years. But Free, Schubert, and Biggs have proved that, with will and time management, that isn’t so: all three are third-year students.
The College of Education is home to many other unique professional development experiences for educators. SciTEC, the Science and Technology Education Center in the College, last summer served as a Louisiana Department of Education-approved provider of professional development for teachers of science, which accompanied the roll out of the new Louisiana Science Standards.
SciTEC’s Office of Professional Education and Outreach served hundreds of teachers, engaging them in extension coursework relating to a variety of content and credentialing sequences in partnership with the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Leadership.
The 2017 summer also marked the graduation of Tech's first 20 cyber education certificate recipients from across the nation. Tech is the first institution in the state to offer the four course certificate that is completely online. Teachers who complete the program are ideal candidates to become STEM and cyber leaders in their districts. They can also help connect students with careers in cyber-infused industries; today, workers in the cyber fields are among the most wanted and most well paid in the country. The online Cyber Education program for K-12 educators is through SciTEC in conjunction with the Cyber Innovation Center’s National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) division.