What is UTeach South?
The University of South Alabama is making it easier for undergraduate students pursuing STEM majors – those in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – to earn teacher certification and begin careers in education. UTeach South targets a shortage in mathematics and science teachers with special scholarships, training and internships.
The UTeach Institute was founded at the University of Texas in 1997 and has expanded to more than 50 institutions in more than 20 states. The University of South Alabama is one of six state universities to be awarded funding. South has received the first installment of the grant, which is for up to $2 million over five years.
Hallmarks of the UTeach South program include collaboration among the Colleges of Education and Professional Studies and Arts and Sciences; compact programs that will allow students to earn a STEM degree and teaching certification in four years; and an array of student benefits, such as paid internships, that will offer opportunities for community outreach in education.
South will begin recruiting students during freshman orientation for the fall semester of 2023. By 2028, if the program meets its goals, South could quadruple its number of STEM education graduates.
Math and science teachers are critically needed in many Alabama school districts. The state has a Teacher Excellence and Accountability for Mathematics and Science program that offers a salary supplement of up to $20,000 a year for STEM teachers. This means STEM teachers have some of the best-paying jobs in public education.
UTeach graduates aren’t required to work in education, but many do decide to become educators. Across the nation, 88 percent of UTeach graduates start work as STEM teachers.
UTeach South has its own directors, advisors and master teachers. A UTeach South student organization will encourage camaraderie, establish a presence on campus, and promote recruiting.