February 3, 2009
For immediate release
UC Santa Barbara has approved the Gevirtz School to grant a Minor in Science and Mathematics Education beginning in spring 2009. This new minor, targeted to science and math majors, will serve both as a recruitment tool and a stepping stone into teaching science or mathematics as a career. The new minor is an integral part of UC Santa Barbara’s Science and Mathematics Initiative (SMI). SMI is a UC-wide initiative intended to recruit more talented STEM undergraduates into secondary science and mathematics teaching, and to better prepare them to meet the needs of diverse learners in California’s public schools.
“We all agree that U.S. public school students need better and more challenging education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education if they are to thrive in the 21st Century,” says Dr. Jane Close Conoley, Dean of the UC Santa Barbara Gevirtz School and Chair of the CalTeach/Science Mathematics Initiative Executive Committee. “The best way to ensure their success is by getting excellent science and mathematics middle and senior high teachers for them. The new Mathematics and Science Education Minor is an important and innovative step we are taking to recruit more excellent math and science majors into teaching. We need teachers who know the subject areas and who know how to teach in innovative, demanding, and inspiring ways.”
Several courses in the minor are intended to provide undergraduates with foundational knowledge and experiences in education. Additional minor courses provide opportunities to explore science and mathematics disciplinary knowledge in relevant, innovative, and interesting ways. Further, undergraduates will practice translating what they are learning in both kinds of courses into school contexts: They will observe, help design, and participate in the teaching of science or mathematics to elementary, middle, and high school students. In sum, undergraduates who enroll in the Minor in Science and Mathematics Education will gain a deeper understanding of science and mathematics content, students and student learning, instructional strategies effective in conveying content to students, and the structure and purposes of schools.
Julie Bianchini, Faculty Director of the Science and Mathematics Initiative, and Susan Johnson, the SMI Academic Coordinator, will oversee the day-to-day concerns of the minor. An interdisciplinary advisory board consisting of faculty members from education, mathematics, and the sciences will guide the minor. The curriculum committee members include: Carl Lager, Danielle Harlow, Emily Kang, Elissa Ross, Sue Johnson, Suzanne Raphael, and Tine Sloan from the Gevirtz School; Fiona Goodchild of the California NanoSystems Institute, Bill Jacob of the Math Department, and Petra Van Koppen of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
The Minor in Science and Mathematics is the Gevirtz School’s second minor. The school also offers an Education and Applied Psychology Minor that consists of three tracks: Applied Psychology, Educational Studies, and Teacher Preparation.
[Julie Bianchini is available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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