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Drexel Awarded $1.45 Million UTeach Grant to Recruit, Train New Teachers in STEM Disciplines

February 17, 2014

Students build robot
UTeach grants are helping to address the nation’s STEM education crisis

Drexel University has been selected to receive a $1.45 million grant from the National Math and Science Initiative to replicate the UTeach program, a secondary STEM teacher preparation initiative that is helping to address the nation’s STEM education crisis by producing qualified math and science teachers across the country.

“Given the great need for American students to gain expertise in STEM fields to maintain our nation’s global leadership, it is hard to imagine a duty more important than training the secondary teachers who teach in these fields,” said Drexel President John A. Fry. “This grant solidifies Drexel’s position within the vanguard of efforts to increase the ranks of those qualified to teach STEM in today’s schools.”

A kick-off event will be held at Drexel in April for students, faculty, Drexel constituents and local dignitaries.

Drexel is one of five universities to receive the five-year grant, made possible by a generous contribution from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In addition to Drexel, beginning in the fall of 2014, the UTeach program will be made available to students at Florida International University, Oklahoma State University, University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of Maryland, College Park.

With the expansion of UTeach to these universities and five more in the fall of 2015, the program is expected to produce more than 9,000 new math and science teachers in the United States by 2020 – nearly 10 percent of the national goal of producing 100,000 new STEM teachers by 2021.

The grant will subsidize core elements of the UTeach program, which include recruitment and retention incentives, a compact degree program, a strong focus on research-based strategies for teaching and learning math and science, intensive field teaching experience and personal guidance from master teachers and faculty. Universities were selected to participate in the UTeach program through a competitive proposal process. Five additional research universities will be awarded UTeach grants in the coming year. Interested schools can learn more about eligibility requirements and apply by visiting

At Drexel, the program will be known as DragonsTEACH, and will be jointly run and supported by the Provost’s Office, the School of Education, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Engineering. It will be co-directed by Jason Silverman, PhD, an associate professor in the School of Education; Luis Cruz Cruz, PhD, an associate professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Adam Fontecchio, PhD, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Engineering.

The UTeach program, first developed in 1997 at the University of Texas Austin, has been implemented at 35 universities across the country with a total enrollment of more than 6,000 students. UTeach recruits and prepares students studying mathematics, science and computer science disciplines to enter careers in secondary education by enabling them to earn both a degree in their major and a teaching certification without adding time or expense to their four-year degree program. Since 2008, NMSI has actively worked with the UTeach Institute to expand the program to colleges and universities around the country.

About National Math and Science Initiative
NMSI, a non-profit organization, was launched in 2007 by top leaders in business, education and science to transform education in the United States. NMSI has received national recognition for training 3-12 teachers and improving student performance through the rapid expansion of these highly successful programs: NMSI's Comprehensive AP programNMSI Teacher Training program and UT Austin’s UTeach program. Inaugural funding for NMSI, was provided by the Exxon Mobil Corporation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. For more information, visit

About UTeach Institute
Established in 2006 at UT Austin, The UTeach Institute assists universities with implementation of the UTeach program and supports a growing, national network of K-12 educators and university-based research and clinical faculty collaborating to strengthen STEM education in the United States. This work is supported through a variety of strategic partnerships at the national, state and local levels. For more information, visit

About Howard Hughes Medical Institute
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute plays a powerful role in advancing scientific research and education in the United States. Its scientists, located across the United States and around the world, have made important discoveries that advance both human health and our fundamental understanding of biology. The Institute also aims to transform science education into a creative, interdisciplinary endeavor that reflects the excitement of real research.