Athens State University’s College of Education and College of Arts and Sciences are preparing for their newest program, Athens State Teach, made possible by the $2 million UTeach grant from the Alabama Legislature. The UTeach grant exists to help colleges and universities provide innovative programming and preparation to aspiring teachers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
The state of Alabama faces a significant shortage of qualified STEM teachers. To combat this deficit, the Alabama STEM Council and Alabama Commission on Higher Education partnered with the UTeach Institute at The University of Texas at Austin so that a greater number of high-quality STEM educators enter local schools each year. Athens State University is one of six state universities that were selected to receive the grant.
“The need for STEM educators is essential to our local community,” stated Dr. Katherine Kandalec-Holm, Interim Dean for the College of Education. “We see the need for not only more STEM educators, but also more members of the STEM workforce at-large. We can change the industry in our state by enhancing our efforts with our STEM students through a guided path to secondary STEM teacher roles.”
Colleges and Universities have a unique opportunity to impact the STEM industry starting with sending out the next generation of prepared STEM teachers. The UTeach Grant will allow Athens State Teach to offer scholarships to STEM students as well as hire faculty and staff to supplement instruction for STEM students and recruit for the program. Athens State Teach will launch in the Summer of 2023, partnering with local K-12 schools to give hands-on training to students for their STEM careers.