Mines, UNC to Create National Model for STEM Educators

Golden, Colorado. August 7, 2014 – 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 mathemathics (STEM).

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

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.

“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.

The Mines/UNC initiative draws on the strengths of the two research institutions in providing Mines students with a path to becoming a science or math teacher and inspiring future generations of STEM students. The new teacher preparation program will produce more highly qualified STEM teachers in Colorado, with a special emphasis on middle and high school teachers.

“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.”

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.

It’s anticipated that the program will begin Fall 2015. Nearly $300,000 from the National Science Foundation will provide grant funding to build the framework for an innovative teacher preparation partnership between the two schools. Once in place, the program will serve as a national model that other engineering and teacher institutions can adopt.

The collaborating institutions will develop new and revised courses that will best address the integrative nature of STEM learning that is emerging in K-12 education by preparing secondary science and mathematics teachers with the skills to integrate scientific inquiry, technological design, engineering problem solving and mathematical analysis into cohesive and meaningful learning experiences for their students.

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.