ematics, or computer science. The results revealed that more than one-third of the students had considered teaching as a career, although only small numbers of students were pursuing teaching certification from the university during the 1990s. Concerned that this potential population of future teachers was not being tapped, the dean called on three outstanding secondary school teachers from the local school district and an assessment expert to propose an ideal teacher training program in science and mathematics. During the summer of 1997, this group developed a framework for a 4-year course of study, taking into account university regulations, and paying close attention to recently modified state and national guidelines. This plan was reviewed by interested professors and deans in both the College of Natural Sciences and the College of Education and also sent to education leaders across the state and representatives of the State Board for Educator Certification for their review and input.
The document that resulted was a blueprint for UTeach. It featured early guided field experience, graduation in 4 years with a degree from the College of Natural Sciences and a recommendation for state certification from the College of Education. The program is based on a three-fold partnership, drawing on the experience of master teachers from the school district, the instructional and curricular knowledge of faculty in the College of Education, and the content-area strength of scientists and mathematicians in the College of Natural Sciences. The UTeach Program is designed to be flexible and to accommodate diverse student schedules.
A distinctive feature of the UTeach Program is that it does not have a formal selection process. The nature of the program’s first year is to encourage all mathematics and science majors at the University of Texas at Austin to explore whether the teaching profession is a career option for them. The College of Natural Sciences invites freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors to join the program, and it offers free tuition for the first two, 1-hour courses. To the extent that the university capacity allows, it admits a select group of post baccalaureates into the program.
In spring 2001 there were 280 students in the program, and the first major group of 35 students graduated in May 2001. UTeach is one of the largest programs of this type at any research university in the country: Its enrollment by fall 2001 was expected to be more than 300, and it is projected that the following year the program will reach a steady state of about