|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
UIS receives federal funding to address math teacher shortage
March 8, 2004
SPRINGFIELD - Chancellor Richard Ringeisen announced today that the University of Illinois at Springfield has received a quarter of a million dollars in federal funding to help address the shortage of mathematics teachers in the state of Illinois.
The funding will be used to establish an online math teacher certification program that will be offered by UIS for the first time this fall. “We’ve found an innovative way to meet a huge state need, and now we have the funding to make it happen,” Dr. Ringeisen said. He thanked Congressman John Shimkus for his efforts on behalf of UIS to obtain the funding. “Without his strong support, this would not be happening. UIS and Congressman Shimkus will take this message about new opportunities for math teachers to many parts of Illinois.”
According to Dr. Ringeisen, the program will become a national model for addressing the shortage of mathematics teachers by enabling those who aspire to teach with the opportunity to make a mid-career change. He said the state of Illinois projects a need for more than 600 new math teachers in 2005 and 650 in 2006.
The program, to be offered by the College of Education and Human Services, will make graduates “fully qualified” under No Child Left Behind, the law that by the year 2005 requires all teachers to be “highly qualified” in their discipline.
Congressman Shimkus, a former teacher, who presented Dr. Ringeisen with a large check to commemorate the award Monday, stated, “I have heard from teachers about some inadequacies of the No Child Left Behind and hope that the program UIS will implement can help relieve some of the burdens that have been brought to my attention.”
Dr. Larry Stonecipher, dean of the college, said the program will provide an online baccalaureate degree completion and Illinois teacher certification in mathematics for individuals holding the associate’s degree. “With occasional brief visits to the UIS campus, qualified Illinois residents with the AA or AS degree could complete their bachelor of science degree and teacher certification in math without leaving their home communities,” he said. “There are teacher aides and professionals in the private sector who desire to become math teachers, but can’t leave their jobs to go back to school. This program would make such a career change possible.”
UIS has developed an excellent reputation as a national leader in online education since it began offering classes online in fall 1998. Ray Schroeder, director of technology-enhanced learning at UIS, is a Sloan-C Distinguished Scholar in Online Learning and the 2002 recipient of the Sloan-C Most Outstanding Achievement in Online Learning.
“I am very excited about this opportunity to offer the math teacher certification program online,” Schroeder said. “Many of our current online students have asked us to offer the program.” He said that most of the classes will be delivered online with students coming to campus on three or four weekends during the semester. “That will allow us to have regular face-to-face contact with them while many of the assignments will be completed at a distance.”
The Teacher Education Program at UIS is accredited to offer elementary and secondary teaching certificates with a major in the discipline and a minor in education. “Our teaching candidates are highly qualified and recruited due to their strong backgrounds in the content,” Dr. Stonecipher said. “Evidence of this is the 100 percent pass rate of the teacher education program students for the past three years.”
Dr. Stonecipher said that he anticipates that the math certification program would begin with a cohort of 50 students and steadily expand each year. The University of Illinois Online Office, Illinois Virtual Campus, and Illinois Online Network will all provide support to the initiative.
|The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 40 degree programs – 20 bachelor’s, 19 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.|
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