It is my pleasure and honor to welcome this esteemed and remarkably talented group.
We all are keenly aware that the challenges in education that face us are daunting.
But this group, with foremost experts in math, science and engineering education, and leading researchers, policy makers, funders, and program directors, are exactly who we need to address these challenges.
We are the ones to act. I applaud you for being a part of this important work. I applaud you for assuming this responsibility. And I applaud you for what you will do in this meeting.
We all recognize the critical nature of our work here: to seek consensus on the characteristics of outstanding science and mathematics teacher preparation.
We have moved beyond the idea of writing another report or making another recommendation and are now building a foundation to address the challenges before us in a collaborative way.
We are looking to coordinate our actions rather than engage with a thousand discordant voices.
I praise your approach, led by the SMTI Teacher Preparation Quality Initiative staff, Jennifer Presley, Charles Coble, Kacy Redd, Jana Bouwma-Gearhart and of course Howard Gobstein. You have provided a call to action, assembled a group of actors and provided a framework for establishing your framework.
Your collective work will coalesce understanding and action around four key themes in quality math and science teacher preparation: entrance and exit points to programs, clinical practice, disciplinary content, and research and evaluation.
Having a framework with allow us to call for action, will allow us to act, and will allow us to do so in a coordinated fashion.
I laud this STEM education community for coming together, to begin to coordinate, and move from pockets of excellence to a truly national movement.
Science and Math Teacher Imperative
This effort is a core element of SMTI, the Science and Math Teacher Imperative, and I am honored to serve as the Chair of the SMTI Executive Committee.
SMTI has grown to include 129 public research universities—including a dozen university systems across 44 states. Collectively, SMTI members prepare more than 8,000 science and mathematics teachers annually—making it the largest STEM new teacher initiative in the country.
I am very proud of SMTI's many accomplishments. Recently we have joined, and are helping shape, the "100k in 10" national effort to support the quality preparation of 100,000 teachers in 10 years, answering the President's call.
I am very proud of our new Math Teacher Education Partnership that will serve as a national model and resource in transforming secondary mathematics teacher preparation programs. Thanks to so many of you here who are leading and contributing to this model effort.
Unleashing the opportunities of universities
The APLU and SMTI are serving to bring universities along with key partners, including disciplinary societies, funders, and national programs, to the table to coordinate our voice and actions.
We are now in a position to deeply engage universities in the national education challenges, whether these are the challenges of undergraduate education highlighted by the White House in the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, or the K12 challenges that we are addressing here, today.
From our perspective, at the university, these are linked challenges: teacher recruitment and preparation begins in our freshman math, physics, chemistry and biology courses. Partnerships between disciplinary departments and teacher preparation programs can collectively address challenges of K12 teacher preparation and undergraduate education.
Universities and professional societies are keys for broader educational transformation and change. Historically, universities and professional societies have not been leaders and now the opportunity for engagement and change is calling on us. We must transform and lead in the national dialogue in STEM. Between us, we hold tremendous promise to change the paradigm.
Universities are places where practices are created and redefined; places where we recruit and prepare the next generation of teachers; where teachers return for professional development; the places that define curricula and standards.
Professional societies define our disciplines, establish the normative cultures of what it means to be a professional--- what makes a physicist, biologist, mathematician or engineer. Professional societies bring us together to coalesce into one community to solve our nation's challenges with a unified, strategic direction and with a strong degree of urgency.
In coordinated efforts, among our organizations, we can change the paradigm.
We can leverage the tremendous resources at the university, the extensive networks of professional societies and STEM teachers, and the national attention in STEM education and teacher preparation in order to seed the future. This is a future where all have access to quality physics education, and opportunities for a personally satisfying life that contributes to our society's collective welfare.
Universities are now awakening to their potential in addressing this vital national challenge.
We here at Colorado, are proud that this is part of our identity—that we are serving the region, the state and the nation in the preparation of STEM educators and STEM professionals.
The Colorado Learning Assistant (or LA) program is an example of that. I'm proud that it's not only a "promising practice" but an "exemplary practice" of the Leadership Collaborative in SMTI.
It is a signature program of the University of Colorado. It is a cornerstone of our efforts to transform undergraduate STEM education, a key mechanism by which we increase the number and quality of STEM teachers, and a core sense of our identity.
The LA program has spread as a tool to help us transform our own practices across education, arts & sciences, and engineering. We have now had more than 1,000 student participants as LAs. It has spread throughout campus, impacting nearly 10,000 students a year. It has spread nationally to dozens of universities, from small colleges to large research universities.
Similarly the PhET interactive simulations project at CU-Boulder have helped transform the educational landscape and the university's role. This international, multi-award winning project, created by CU Nobel laureate Carl Wieman, uses interactive Web-based simulations to shift K-16 physics instruction, emphasizing interaction and scientific exploration. This project includes more than 100 simulations in 68 languages that have 75 million downloads across the world.
The LA and PhET programs are part of our broader commitment to STEM education. We boast roughly 50 programs in STEM education, and are bringing these together to address the national challenges.
We are establishing a national-scale Center for STEM Learning that serves as resource for educational transformation, professional preparation and development of teachers and faculty, and as a center for research in STEM learning and educational practice.
Soon we will launch this Center for STEM Learning. It will anchor our many programs dedicated to excellence in STEM education. Through this Center we will continue to build new programs and coordinate our investment in educational excellence. And through this center we honor our state charter and the commitment of all Public and Land Grant Universities to research, education and service.
We at Colorado are pleased to partner with SMTI and this Teaching Quality Initiative.
We always welcome you to Boulder. We are pleased to be home to the Center for STEM Learning and we relish our role as a national center and a resource.
We thank you for your work today and we will continue to be a resource for you and for SMTI.