Wanted: Future Math and Science Teachers

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Adam Haines lives a double life. He is completing a bachelor’s degree in environmental science at RIT while taking graduate courses at Nazareth College to earn his master’s in education. He’s just one of several students taking advantage of a collaboration between the two schools to produce more math and science teachers.

With the nation facing a shortage of highly qualified K-12 mathematics and science educators—a projected shortfall of more than 280,000 educators by 2015—RIT is partnering with Nazareth College to address the problem. “We have a ready pool of math and science teachers, which is a huge need in the United States right now,” says Daan Braveman, president of Nazareth College. “We have a pipeline where we are losing the students’ interest in math and science. If we can get teachers who are excited about math and science to teach the students, I think we will close the leaks in that pipeline.”

RIT and Nazareth College’s School of Education have developed a program called Tech2Teach. It offers RIT students with another avenue of career success. RIT is the third largest producer of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics undergraduate degree recipients among private universities in the United States. Tech2Teach allows RIT students to make the best use of elective credits in preparation for pursuit of a master’s degree in education. Third- and fourth-year RIT undergraduate students have the opportunity to take concurrent graduate classes at Nazareth College leading to a master’s degree and initial teacher certification.

“RIT students have already gone through the gauntlet of taking a much larger number of math and science courses, typically more than your average college student,” says Bill Destler, RIT president. “They are almost perfect matches to a program like this that might lead them later to become educators teaching math and science in grades K through 12.”

Full-time undergraduate tuition is paid to RIT during this time; financial aid is unaffected. Once the baccalaureate degree is earned, students may be eligible for specific scholarships for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (e.g., Robert Noyce Scholar Program, Federal TEACH Grant), and graduate assistantships as a fully matriculated Nazareth College graduate student.