The Need for More Math and Science Teachers Addressed by UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts School of Education has announced a new initiative to address the critical shortage of qualified math and science teachers in Massachusetts. It will offer a Summer/Fall Certification Option in Secondary Science and Mathematics that will provide an alternative, university-based route to certification for tomorrow''s teachers. The program is offered in collaboration with the Science Technology Engineering Mathematics Teacher Education Collaborative (STEMTEC), a National Science Foundation-funded project in Western Massachusetts whose goals include improving the preparation, and increasing the numbers and diversity, of future science and math teachers.

Most certification programs require a full academic year of coursework and student teaching, according to UMass education professor Allan Feldman, one of STEMTEC''s principal investigators. This new option allows future math and science teachers to complete the same curriculum in a shorter timeframe - one summer and one semester. It is a route for people who already have a degree in science or math, as well as for juniors and seniors at the Five Colleges, Feldman says. This program is also an attractive route for mid-career professionals who are interested in switching to a career in math or science teaching. Applications are currently being accepted for this summer.

"We are delighted that STEMTEC can collaborate with the University to help meet the commonwealth''s need for highly qualified math and science teachers," says UMass physics professor Morton Sternheim, STEMTEC project director.

Students enrolled in the Summer/Fall Option follow an intensive program of coursework and fieldwork over the summer to learn the most effective ways to teach science or mathematics. In the fall, these students work full-time as student teachers or interns in local science and math classrooms and are mentored by teachers who have been recognized as experts in the newest methods of instruction. Upon completing the program in December, the students are prepared to enter the teaching profession. Once working, they become part of the New Teacher Support Program, an eight-college teacher education collaborative developed by STEMTEC, which includes UMass and Hampshire, Smith, Mount Holyoke and Amherst colleges, as well as Springfield Technical, Holyoke, and Greenfield community colleges.

For more information contact Allan Feldman at 413/545-1570 or visit the STEMTEC web site at http://k12s.phast.umass.edu/~stemtec.