KU News Release

Sept. 23, 2009
Contact: Mike Krings, University Relations, (785) 864-8860

KU, Johnson County Community College to expand teacher training program

More Information

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas will sign an agreement with Johnson County Community College to expand UKanTeach, an innovative program that helps prepare math and science teachers.

Representatives from the two institutions will sign an agreement at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, in JCCC’s Regnier Center in Overland Park. The agreement is the first of its kind in the nation.

UKanTeach helps students earn a math or science degree and a teaching certificate in four years. Under the agreement, the first two classes of the program will be offered at JCCC as well as KU. In the first two classes, students work with master teachers and visit classrooms to observe and learn about important aspects of teaching, such as lesson plans and working with students. The students work in elementary schools for the first class and middle schools for the second. JCCC students could then transfer to KU to finish their degrees.

With the combined effort of the two institutions, UKanTeach will be able to produce about 80 new science and math teachers each year. Steven Case, director of KU’s Center for Science Education and a co-director of the UKanTeach program, said existing partnerships between KU and JCCC made the expansion a fitting next step.

“We get a few thousand science and math students from Johnson County Community College every year,” Case said. “It was a natural progression to sign this articulation agreement with them. Our kids at both schools are really top of the line kids. They’re not only good math and science students, they’re good overall students.”

One of the goals of the agreement is to improve student advising at both institutions and improve the transfer process for students. JCCC students will receive help selecting courses that will lead to a math or science degree from KU.

Jeff Frost, dean of mathematics at JCCC, said KU officials approached JCCC about becoming involved with UKanTeach. The program is a good fit for students who know they want to teach from the beginning and those who consider teaching as a career option after beginning their college education.

“They’ve done great at KU with UKanTeach,” Frost said. “We’re always going to have students who want to get into teaching. I think a lot of our students and peer tutors haven’t considered teaching until they start doing that kind of work and realize ‘I could see myself doing this.’ ”

The UKanTeach program was launched in 2007 with a $1.4 million grant from the National Math and Science Initiative and matching funds. The initiative launched the program to produce more qualified math and science teachers. American students are falling behind in math and science, and recent studies have shown only 29 percent of American fourth-graders, a third of eighth-graders and 18 percent of 12th-graders perform at or above proficient levels in science.

The program has grown from 33 students in its first year to 160 this fall. KU is only one of 13 universities with such a program. Officials at KU and JCCC said they hope the agreement will help expand the program to community colleges across the country.

“We are tremendously excited about being the only community college in the country that is part of this program,” Frost said. “I think any time we can work together it’s a great way to show the community we’re both interested in students’ success.”

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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