Science, Math Education Program to Address Teacher Shortage

NevadaTeach
UNR is targeting the state’s shortage of STEM-educated secondary school teachers with a new program called NevadaTeach. Image: UNR.

Students in STEM disciplines at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) have the opportunity to earn a secondary teaching certificate, along with their degree, through a new program.

NevadaTeach, which began last year, has enrolled 73 students, and is an interdisciplinary effort among UNR’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, College of Education and College of Science.

The program aims to develop proficient math and science teachers.

Students in NevadaTeach take two classes within their first two semesters, which are designed to place STEM majors in the classroom almost immediately, providing them with an opportunity to decide if classroom teaching is right for them.

“At the beginning of Step 1, I had never been in a classroom before to actually observe and then eventually teach,” said Travis Hickox, a junior majoring in atmospheric science. “You have to start somewhere and that is exactly what this class is for. By being in the classroom, I got an idea of the kind of teacher I am and got ideas for the teacher I want to be for my learners one day.”

With NevadaTeach, UNR has begun phasing out its undergraduate secondary education STEM programs.

“We are fully committed to this program’s over-arching objective to increase the number of STEM secondary education teachers who have degrees in STEM subjects,” said Ken Coll, dean of the College of Education. “This model can not only help address a critical shortage of qualified teachers but it’s also proven to retain these teachers in the teaching profession.”

Information: unr.edu/nevadateach.

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