UW-Stevens Point launches natural science education major
The natural science education major at UW-Stevens Point will be launched beginning in fall 2021, one of the first within the University of Wisconsin System. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) approved this collaborative bachelor’s degree program. The new major natural science, science teaching certification is a collaboration among the School of Education, Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, Geography and Geology and the College of Natural Resources.
“Of critical importance, this program better prepares students to effectively teach to the interdisciplinary nature of science and addresses the need for qualified science teachers in school districts across the state,” said Krista Slemmons, associate professor of biology and coordinator of the new program coordinator.
The most recent DPI report on school staffing cited chronic staffing shortages across many disciplines, including science. Teacher shortages were most pronounced in northern Wisconsin school districts and in science, technology, math (STEM) fields. Fifty percent of school districts described their teacher shortage as “extreme.”
Students in the Natural Science major will take core science courses and select a minor in one of those disciplines and a certificate in an additional field of science. This broad array of science coursework provides ample knowledge to teach any science discipline in grades 4-12 and allows students to focus on an area of emphasis.
“We’re one of the first institutions in the UW System to offer this program, and it will help fill the void of much-needed science educators in our state,” said Jason D’Acchioli, assistant dean, School of Biology, Chemistry, and Biochemistry.