Expanding and Strengthening the STEM Teacher Workforce Through UTeach

Classmates focus on presentation

Expanding and Strengthening the STEM Teacher Workforce Through UTeach

Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) Project

The UTeach Institute is strengthening the production of new STEM teachers, including computer science teachers, by developing innovative, alternative pathways based on the UTeach program model.

The national STEM teacher shortage has been a persistent problem for more than 30 years. But the true scope of the problem may be even worse than generally understood when we account for the number of current high school STEM teachers who lack certification in the STEM subject they teach and the lack of STEM courses even being offered in schools (like physics and computer science) because there is no teacher available.

The problem is made worse by the steady decline in enrollment in teacher preparation programs across the country over the last decade, an issue that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the teaching profession.

Students from marginalized racial and ethnic groups have been historically underrepresented in attainment of STEM degrees. STEM jobs represent a significant opportunity for economic advancement, especially for disadvantaged students and their families, yet these students are discouraged from pursuing post-secondary STEM degrees. Any attempt to address these long-standing inequities must begin with the preparation of K-12 teachers.

This SEED-funded work is designed to address these issues. We are increasing the number of highly qualified STEM teachers, including computer science teachers, prepared to serve concentrations of high-need students.

Leveraging Strengths

UTeach is a nationally recognized program proven to prepare secondary STEM teachers who stay in teaching longer, improve student performance in math and science, and influence students to enter STEM fields.

The UTeach Institute supports the expansion of the UTeach program at 55 universities in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Together, they have produced more than 8,000 graduates, 68% of whom are teaching in K-12 schools with majority economically disadvantaged populations.

The UTeach Institute is also home to UTeach Computer Science, an initiative to broaden participation in computer science by providing project-based, high-quality professional development, and ongoing support to in-service teachers. UTeach Computer Science trains teachers on the College Board–endorsed UTeach AP CS Principles and UTeach AP CS A curricula.

The Project

Our SEED project expands UTeach preparation to populations not previously served by UTeach—STEM degree-holders, career-changers, and returning military. It also supports the development of innovative pathways to prepare more computer science teachers.

To meet the needs of post-baccalaureate candidates, we are customizing the same preparation approach and curriculum that makes the UTeach undergraduate pathway so successful. The foundation of inquiry-based instructional approaches in UTeach also informs our development of K–12 CS curriculum, and our approach to developing in-service teachers’ classroom instructional skills to engage all students.

Creation of Innovative Teacher Preparation Pathways

To increase the number of highly qualified STEM teachers, we are supporting the expansion of UTeach program pathways at UTeach programs in four universities. The partner programs have exceeded their project enrollment. Current programs have a total active enrollment of over 180 students.

Fifty-two people have graduated from these pre-service pathways since Fall 2021. Characteristics include:

  • Of the alumni that entered the K-12 teaching classroom (79%), the following subjects are taught: mathematics (39%), computer science (7%), multiple/unspecified sciences (27%), biology (5%), chemistry (5%), physics (2%), earth and space science (2%), integrated physics and chemistry (3%), and other (10%).
  • 95% are still teaching
  • 54% teach in Title I schools

Creation of New Computer Science Curriculum for Teachers

To increase the number of computer science teachers who can broaden participation of students in computer science in high-needs schools, we have created a two-year sequence of AP CS curricula. We now offer a new project-based CSA curriculum offering to accompany our current CS Principles curriculum.

An additional 141 in-service teachers have received preparation and support for the two UTeach Computer Science courses. We have exceeded (100%) our target goal to prepare 40 in-service teachers to implement the UTeach CS Principles curriculum and 78% of our target goal to prepare 120 in-service teachers to implement the UTeach CS-A curriculum.

Project Partnerships

Project partners include the four well-established UTeach programs at Louisiana State University, the University of Houston, the University of North Texas, and the University of Texas at Austin.

Partners also include the American Institutes of Research (AIR) and Digital Promise. AIR provides program evaluation and is conducting a research study of high school computer science course implementation and teacher professional development. Digital Promise provides support and a hosting platform for the computer science micro-credentials developed by the UTeach Institute.

This project is supported by the U.S. Department of Education Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) Award #U423A180139.

Contact Us

Contact Amy Moreland for more information about this exciting work.



Funded By

Proudly funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE)

U.S. Department of Education Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) logo