New degree to create STEM teachers through engineering

Published: Aug. 22, 2013

CU-Boulder is launching a new General Engineering Plus undergraduate degree with the CU Teach Engineering concentration this fall for current first-year and sophomore students interested in earning secondary school (grades 7-12) science or math teaching licensure.

CU-Boulder students interested in learning more about the degree program are invited to attend an information session on either Aug. 27 at 4:30 p.m. or Aug. 28 at 4 p.m., in the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory, room 160.

The GE+ degree program offers an interdisciplinary, hands-on, design-based engineering core curriculum, coupled with an engineering disciplinary emphasis (aerospace, mechanical, environmental, architectural, or civil) and a “Design Your Own” concentration in an area within or external to engineering.

The CU Teach Engineering concentration was created by the College of Engineering and Applied Science as a new pathway for students interested in a design-focused, interdisciplinary engineering degree that is streamlined for students to simultaneously complete the requirements for a secondary math or science teacher licensure.

Recognizing the need for qualified science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) teachers to enhance the context and content introduced in K-12 classrooms, the College of Engineering and Applied Science, in conjunction with the School of Education, created the degree for those students interested in engineering who also have a strong desire to teach.

“This could be a game changer in getting engineering colleges nationwide to engage in STEM teacher production and, at scale, really put the “E” in STEM for our nation’s youth,” said Jacquelyn Sullivan, who co-directs the GE+ program along with Derek Reamon.

Sullivan and Reamon also co-direct the award-winning Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory and Program, which introduced an interdisciplinary, hands-on designed-based curriculum to the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Sullivan, with support from the National Science Foundation, also leads, a free digital library of hands-on engineering activities designed for use by K-12 teachers, and the TEAMS program, in which Ph.D. engineering students from CU-Boulder teach engineering curricula in grades 4-12 STEM classes in partner schools in three school districts.

“The college has discovered how engaging in K-12 education can make a world of difference to our nation’s future and how to effectively implement the design-based pedagogical strategies in a K-12 classroom,” Sullivan said.

CU Teach Engineering is the first GE+ concentration to launch this fall, but additional concentration options, such as pre-medicine, law or business, will be launched by fall 2014.

The GE+ degree is broad in scope and gives students the opportunity to discover hands-on design in multiple branches of engineering with the flexibility to explore another passion applicable to the technical problem-solving needs of today’s complex world.

Photo: A CU engineering student promotes excitement about math and science through outreach with K-12 students. Photo courtesy of the College of Engineering and Applied Science.