IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Chancellor DiStefano visits the White House to pledge an increase in math and science teachers
Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano of the University of Colorado at Boulder visited the White House Jan. 6, 2010 as one of four public research university leaders representing about 120 universities pledging to address the national shortage of science and mathematics teachers in a letter presented to President Barack Obama.
The letter was signed by leaders from 79 public research universities or university systems and stated, "Together, our institutions committing to the Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative will strive to increase the number of new science and mathematics teachers we prepare to more than 10,000 annually by 2015, for an additional 7,500 new teachers over the next five years."
Thirty-nine institutions, including CU-Boulder, and three university systems have also pledged to at least double the number of science and mathematics teachers graduated by 2015. SMTI is sponsored by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
The letter was hand delivered to the White House by DiStefano; Lee T. Todd, Jr., president of the University of Kentucky; Bernadette Gray-Little, chancellor of the University of Kansas; William "Brit" Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland; Peter McPherson, president of APLU; and Howard Gobstein, executive officer and vice president and co-director of SMTI at APLU.
"America's leadership tomorrow depends on how we educate our students today, especially in science, math and engineering," said President Obama. "That's why I'm pleased to announce the expansion of our "Educate to Innovate" campaign today and applaud the several new partnerships launched that will help meet our goal of moving American students from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math achievement over the next decade."
SMTI, launched by APLU in November 2008, encompasses 121 public research universities in 41 states and the District of Columbia -- including 11 university systems. Combined, these institutions currently prepare more than 7,500 science and mathematics teachers annually -- making it the largest Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, new teacher initiative in the country.
"Public research universities have a central role to play in educating science and mathematics teachers," said APLU President Peter McPherson. "We enroll more undergraduate science, mathematics and engineering students than any other type of U.S. university and, moreover, many of our universities have large colleges of education. This combination is just right for public research universities to make a major contribution to meeting the call by President Obama and Education Secretary Duncan to raise American students to the top of the pack in science and mathematics achievement."
Through the initiative, APLU has galvanized university leadership to action as well as sought to encompass the successful programs already in place on member campuses, track progress with metrics and program assessments, and collaborate effectively with national efforts of the education sector, private sector, and state and federal governments.
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