The National Math and Science Initiative will announce Wednesday that grants from entrepreneur and philanthropist Lyda Hill of Colorado Springs and Dallas will establish a new UTeach program at UCCS.
The UCCSTeach program is the 22nd campus nationwide to implement the UTeach program which originated at The University of Texas at Austin. The program prepares a new generation of math and science teachers.
Lyda Hill is an entrepreneur in the for-profit and non-profit sector and is the president of LH Holdings, a company involved in real estate, tourism and venture investments. She also sits on the M.D. Anderson Advisory Board and the Garden of the Gods Foundation. She created the Volunteer Connection to promote volunteering in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and has been honored with the President’s Volunteer Action Award at the White House.
Lyda Hill’s family has a longtime association with the Colorado Springs area. Her parents, Al Hill Sr. and Margaret Hill, developed the Kissing Camels Estates and Golf Club, the Garden of the Gods Club, and the Seven Falls attraction in Cheyenne Canyon. Lyda Hill has continued that civic support, constructing the $3.5 million Visitor and Nature Center at Garden of the Gods in 1995.
“Math and sciences are the answer to many of the problems we face as a country – we need to innovate to move our economy forward. We need new knowledge skills to improve medical care, transportation, clean water resources, and cyber-security,” Lyda Hill said. “This UTeach program will help train math and science teachers who can inspire more students to tackle those problems.”
The program and Lyda Hill’s contributions will be celebrated with a reception and tours beginning at 4 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Science & Engineering Building. All faculty and staff are invited.
The UCCSTeach program will be directed by Catherine Kelly, associate professor, Education, and Rinaldo Schinazi, professor, Mathematics.
Chancellor Pam Shockley Zalabak said Hill’s support was instrumental in launching the teacher training program at UCCS.
“She has provided a strong start for the program that we hope other supporters will build on,” Shockley-Zalabak said.
NMSI is a non-profit organization focused on improving achievement in math and science in U.S. public schools. Enrollment in the UTeach program, which is supported by NMSI grants, has more than tripled in the last three years and is expected to reach more than 3,800 students in fall 2010.
“Demand for the UTeach program continues to grow around the country, and we are seeing immediate results,” said Tom Luce, chief executive officer, NMSI. “The rapid growth of UTeach confirms that more college students will seek careers as math and science teachers if you provide an approach that makes sense. We are confident UCCS is going to play a significant role in preparing and motivating the math and science teachers that are needed in Colorado. We look forward to watching their program grow in the years to come.”
Originated at The University of Texas at Austin in 1997, the UTeach program enables students majoring in math or science to receive full teaching certification without adding time or cost to their degrees. Some 82 percent of the UTeach graduate hires are still teaching after five years, compared with 65 percent nationally. About 45 percent of the UTeach graduates teach in high-need schools. The national replication process is directed by NMSI in conjunction with the UTeach Institute.
It is estimated that the teachers from one graduating class alone in the first cohort of 13 UTeach universities will impact more than two million students during the course of their teaching careers.
The National Math and Science Initiative was launched in 2007 by top leaders in business, education, and science to reverse the United States’ troubling decline in math and science education. NMSI is an agent of change, focused on improving the U.S. public school system by replicating programs nationally that have documented success in math and science education. Support for this ground-breaking national initiative has come from Exxon Mobil Corporation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. Expansion of the UTeach program is also supported by funding from the UTeach Institute, Texas Instruments Foundation, the Texas High School Project, the Greater Texas Foundation, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the Tennessee Department of Education, Texas Education Agency, and other private contributions. With funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York as well as the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, NMSI is creating an alumni network for UTeach graduates.