ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar)- The University of Texas Permian Basin has announced a new partnership with UTeach, a program that recruits and trains STEM majors for the teaching field. 

UTeach Permian Basin will be housed in the College of Education at UTPB. The purpose of the program is to prepare highly qualified science and mathematics teachers according to the UTeach model developed at The University of Texas at Austin.

UTeach Permian Basin has been made possible thanks to a $1.9 million investment from the Permian Strategic Partnership. 

“Proficiency in STEM subjects is crucial to advancing economic opportunity and success in the workforce, particularly in our industry, and we recognize we are facing a shortage of teachers to nurture a passion for these subjects in our students. The UTeach program strengthens the regional pipeline of STEM teachers while providing a sustainable program model for other institutions of higher learning across the region,” said Tracee Bentley, president and CEO of the PSP. 

A key component of the UTeach program is the paid internship. Students who enter the UTeach Permian Basin program will complete a bachelor’s degree in a science or mathematics field in four years while simultaneously earning a secondary teacher certification. The program is streamlined, and the curriculum is designed specifically for future science and math teachers. 

“We are excited to add UT Permian Basin to the growing national network of UTeach programs at 49 universities across the U.S. and to the expansion of the national recognized UTeach program into West Texas,” said said Kimberly Hughes, UTeach Institute Director. “This program will address a critical need to provide excellent STEM teachers for the students in the Permian Basin.”

University leaders say the program has the potential to produce many more STEM teachers each year, effectively doubling the number of STEM teachers in our region annually and having an even broader impact through professional development, coaching and the modeling of best practices in the classroom.