UMSL, STLCC partnership aims to help meet the need for more STEM teachers

Signing ceremony

St. Louis Community College Chancellor Jeff Pittman (seated, at left) and UMSL Chancellor Tom George (also seated) pose for a photo after signing an agreement to expand the reach of the We Teach MO STEM education program to STLCC’s Florissant Valley campus. Joining them (from left) are Florissant Valley Provost Elizabeth Perkins; UMSL lecturer Nicolle von der Heyde; STLCC student Vadim Mamrenko; Chris Fletcher, manager of admissions and enrollment services at Florissant Valley; UMSL College of Education interim Dean Ann Taylor; Stephen White, dean of mathematics, science, engineering, technology and business at Florissant Valley; Andrew Langrehr, vice chancellor for academic affairs for STLCC; Elizabeth Eckelkamp, UMSL’s associate provost for student success; Lindsay Pickering, transfer specialist for UMSL; Krystal Lang, UMSL’s director of community college relations; and Charles Granger, Curators Distinguished Teaching Professor at UMSL. (Photo by Steve Walentik)

The University of Missouri–St. Louis is partnering with St. Louis Community College in an effort officials from both institutions hope will lead to more teachers trained in the fields of science, technology, engineering or math in north St. Louis County classrooms.

The agreement will expand the reach of UMSL’s We Teach MO STEM education program by giving STEM students at STLCC’s Florissant Valley campus the opportunity to learn about teaching in a one-hour course while earning UMSL credit during their time at STLCC.

“Whether they know it or not, the future K-12 teachers for north county and the greater St. Louis region are some in this building right now, taking our science classes and wanting to become scientists and engineers and mathematicians,” Florissant Valley Dean Stephen White said at a signing ceremony today at the Emerson Center on the Florissant Valley campus.

“Some of them need to be exposed to the teaching profession because a lot of times it’s an afterthought. So we need to get in there early and show them that teaching is a rewarding and noble profession and a great career choice. I think if we catch them early like we’re intending to do, we’ll increase the STEM education in this region.”

UMSL lecturer Nicolle von der Heyde is leading the course through the We Teach MO program, a joint initiative of the College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences to help address the critical need for secondary science and math teachers.

STLCC students will be exposed to lesson plan development by observing, writing and teaching lessons in a local, secondary education class.

“It’s a remarkable, intellectually satisfying career that many of our students don’t fully understand,” said Ann Taylor, interim dean of the College of Education. “I’m actually somebody who got a bachelor of science degree, and I was happily working at a multinational corporation in the head office, and I, through circumstances, took one education course, so I think I exemplify what we’re talking about. It was the taking of a course, the having an experience with highly qualified educators, that really led me to know certainly I wanted to teach.”

Chancellor Tom George believes it is only natural for UMSL to join forces with STLCC on an initiative to benefit the broader community.

“St. Louis Community College I think of as an extension of UMSL, and UMSL’s an extension of St. Louis Community College,” he said. “We probably have as tight a bond and as tight an articulation as you could see anywhere.”

The agreement will also create a pathway that could lead more STLCC students to continue their studies at UMSL.

Plans for a similar arrangement with St. Charles Community College are already in the works beginning in the spring semester.

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