Auburn University, State Universities Tackle Alabama's Math Teacher Shortage

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Dr. W. Gary Martin, professor for critical needs in education at Auburn UniversityDr. W. Gary Martin, professor for critical needs in education at Auburn UniversityAuburn University is partnering with other state universities in Alabama to address the shortage of math teachers across the state through a project called "Developing, Recruiting and Empowering Alabama Mathematics Teachers" (DREAM-Math).

With $3.2 million from the National Science Foundation's Noyce Scholarship Program, Auburn is collaborating on DREAM-Math with Tuskegee University, Alabama State University, the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative (AMSTI), the East Alabama Regional Inservice Center (EARIC), and area school districts.

"Too often people who may be interested in shifting to a career as a mathematics teacher face almost insurmountable hurdles, including time and expense," said Dr. W. Gary Martin, the Emily R. and Gerald S. Leischuck Distinguished Professor for Critical Needs in Education in Auburn's College of Education. "DREAM-Math offers a streamlined, high-quality preparation program along with financial support from the National Science Foundation to help them achieve that dream."

DREAM-Math will offer a master's degree in education focused on secondary mathematics that will lead to teacher certification as well as four years of support for teachers launching their careers at high-need schools. Once they complete the program, cohort members will receive $10,000 annually for each of those first four years of their teaching careers at a high-need school.

The first cohort will start in May. To recruit candidates, program organizers will contact alumni and students from DREAM-Math's participating universities, K-12 school districts, and state agencies.

"If we can attract potential people from our local community to pursue mathematics teaching, they may be more likely to return to our school and stay on for the long run," said Beverly Price, deputy superintendent of teaching and learning for Alexander City Schools, a DREAM-Math partner. "We are excited for this opportunity to work with Auburn University and the other partners on this promising endeavor."