Mines, UNC Enter Innovative Partnership to Address Shortage of STEM Teachers

Program Will Serve as a National Model Amid U.S. Presidential Goal to Prepare 100,000 New STEM Teachers in Next Decade

Colorado School of Mines and the University of Northern Colorado are leading the way with an innovative new partnership in response to state and national shortages of teachers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Mines, Colorado's premier engineering university, and UNC, the leading teacher preparation institution in the state, will team up to create the unique program. It will serve as a national model amid a U.S. presidential goal to prepare 100,000 new STEM teachers over the next decade.

Mines students in the program will complete their STEM content requirements on the Mines' campus and then complete the education courses necessary to become a high quality teacher through UNC — via a hybrid online and on-campus program. Required field experiences will occur at middle and high schools near the Mines' campus. There is substantial interest in this program among Mines students in the chemistry, physics and mathematics disciplines.

Mines students who complete the program can graduate with a degree in an existing STEM area and apply for state licensure through the Colorado Department of Education.

It's anticipated that the program will begin Fall 2015. Next steps include Mines and UNC building the program while faculty from both campuses look for external funding to assist in the development of the project. A proposal for national grant funding for the program, titled the CO-STEM Capacity Building Project, has been submitted.

The work of the UNC / Mines Collaborative is supported by the deans of UNC's Colleges of Education and Behavioral Sciences and Natural and Health Sciences as well as the deans of Mines' Colleges of Applied Science and Engineering, Engineering and Computational Sciences, and Earth Resources Science and Engineering.

For more information, contact Karen Gilbert (kgilbert@mines.edu) at Mines and Nate Haas (nate.haas@unco.edu) at UNC.

"This partnership has resulted in a program that should increase the number of STEM teachers graduating from Colorado universities," said Eugene Sheehan, dean of UNC's College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. "As far as I know there's not another collaborative inter-university program of its kind in the country."

"This distinctive new program will provide Mines' math and science students with a satisfying alternative career path and will help meet the critical need for qualified educators in the STEM fields," said Tony Dean, dean of the College of Applied Science and Engineering at Colorado School of Mines.