(July 2, 2010) San Antonio elementary and high school teachers from as far away as California have wrapped up a week of professional development workshops in polar and planetary science at The University of Texas at San Antonio.
The unique professional development opportunity was jointly funded by UTSA and NASA and allowed teachers to expand their knowledge of global changes, Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, polar oceans, glaciers, ice sheets, snow covers, water cycles and other planets. Throughout the week, the teachers were also introduced to scientific technologies commonly used in polar and planetary studies, including NASA tools, electromagnetic imaging instruments, GPS and geographic information systems.
"Professional development programs in the sciences are extremely important," said Stephen Ackley, research associate professor in UTSA's Department of Geological Sciences. "When we provide teachers the tools they need to stay current in science, their lessons are more interesting and they are better able to engage and retain the attention of their students. We thank NASA for helping us support these teachers in their continued education."
According to the National Science Teachers Association, nearly two million science teachers are employed in the United States, which faces a critical shortage of teachers given that approximately 30% of science teachers quit the profession in their first three years of service. The majority of science educators teach Biology and Chemistry, with just an estimated 15,611 teachers in Earth Science.
UTSA prides itself on giving students a well-rounded education. Combining a top-tier academic program with opportunities for personal growth prepares students to compete in a global economy. And that's not all. They learn to be informed and engaged citizens as well. At the heart of that academic program is an award-winning core curriculum.
For four consecutive years, UTSA has received an A-rating from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for the caliber of its core curriculum. According to ACTA, UTSA requires its students to take six of the seven courses deemed "crucial" to a well-rounded education: composition, literature, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics and science. Only a handful of other institutions in the U.S. are giving students these tools, which are needed to succeed in careers and the community.
Did you know? UTSA is one of only three Texas institutions and 23 in the United States to receive the highest rating for its core curriculum in the 2014-2015 edition of the ACTA's "What Will They Learn?" report.
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