West Virginia University celebrated its first graduating class of the WVUteach program this commencement season. The program is designed to provide students the opportunity to fulfill their majors of choice while exploring the profession of teaching in science, technology, engineering and math fields. WVUteach offers hands-on learning, allowing students to supplement their four-year degrees with the experience and certification necessary to teach secondary math or science.

This year’s WVUteach scholars are mathematics majors Bradley Post and Angelo Inglisa and physicsmajor Alec Dufresne. In 2019, the program expects 12 graduates, three from the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, eight from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and one with an intercollegiate biochemistry major.

“We are thrilled to watch our first students graduate from the WVUteach program, which broadens their career options while strengthening a dynamic talent pool of highly-trained secondary education STEM teachers across West Virginia,” said WVUteach co-director Gay Stewart. “In an evolving workforce environment, with constant technological advancements and new career opportunities, we must provide young people a solid foundation in the STEM disciplines before they reach college. We look forward to expanding our WVUteach program in the years to come as we continue to move West Virginia forward.”

The program incorporates lesson development and teaching in local classrooms, integrating all aspects of the pedagogical preparation needed to begin teaching into a holistic curriculum that builds on and enhances students’ STEM majors. By the time of their graduation, candidates in the program fulfill the qualifications to be eligible for secondary teaching certification in tandem with their four-year STEM degree.

The program is modeled after the now-national UTeach program founded at the University of Texas at Austin, which grew from the idea that public universities have a profound role to play in improving the public education system. WVUteach is designed to combat the shortage of highly qualified secondary mathematics and science teachers in West Virginia and to keep young talent in the state.

WVUteach is also an initiative of West Virginia Forward, a statewide effort to identify the state’s unique assets and pair them with economic trends that will leverage growth and development opportunities to strengthen and diversify all regions of the state.

From Amanda Jelsema for WVU Today