New program created to produce high-quality STEM teachers

Some education experts have sounded the alarm in recent years, pointing to a shortage of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) educators throughout the country. FIU has answered the call and wants to be a part of the solution.

On Feb. 27, the university launched FIUTeach – the product of a five-year, $1.45 million grant to the university from the National Math and Science Institute (NMSI). The program will produce qualified math and science teachers in Miami for years to come.

“We’re going to join forces in this initiative to enhance the recruitment and preparation of math and science teachers for communities that are as diverse as ours,” FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg said at the program’s kickoff event at the Stocker AstroScience Center. “We look forward to many successes ahead with this initiative. Let’s not just talk it now, let’s walk it.”

FIUTeach is part of NMSI’s national UTeach program, a secondary STEM teacher preparation initiative which aims to place more than 9,000 new math and science teachers in classrooms across the country by 2020.

“One of the unique things about FIU is its student population. We have one of the most diverse student bodies in the nation and we have become a replication model for what other places will be looking like in the future,” said Laird Kramer, director of the FIU STEM Transformation Institute. “If we can understand how to work with students from diverse backgrounds and understand how we can improve our science and math education system, then we are basically setting a model for the future.”

NMSI Executive Director of Teacher Programs Ronda Brandon believes FIU can be instrumental. “For us, FIU is really important because it is a minority majority university,” Brandon said. “There is such a need for more STEM educators, but particularity minority STEM educators so that students will have role models to follow.”

The FIU STEM Transformation Institute, in collaboration with College of Arts & Science and the College of Education, will coordinate the program. Together, they will work with students to develop their effective educational methods.

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