The STEM Education program is UTC’s only program that offers science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors the option to receive the credentials necessary to be qualified to teach secondary mathematics and science in the state of Tennessee while completing their major degree programs, often completing both programs within four years.
Courses of Study
The STEM Education program, through departments in the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering and Computer Science, offers seven approved undergraduate programs leading to the Bachelor of Science degree and eligibility for secondary (7-12) teacher licensure in Tennessee and in those states that grant reciprocity privileges to graduates of institutions accredited by CAEP. The seven programs (concentrations) are under the following majors: BS Biology, BS Chemistry, BS Physics, BS Computer Science, BSE Engineering, BS Geology, and BS Applied Mathematics.
STEM 1010 and 1020 (or STEM 1030): Steps One and Two
As an introduction to the teaching experience, the STEM Education program offers two one-credit-hour courses: STEM 1010 (Step One) and STEM 1020 (Step Two). A student may be eligible to take the two-credit-hour course STEM 1030 Step 1/Step 2 combination course. These courses are designed to introduce mathematics, engineering, computer science, and science majors to the possibility of teaching as a career and as such, Step 1 has no prerequisite and Step 2 has only Step 1 as a prerequisite.
Because Step 1 and Step 2, as well as other courses in the program, require field components, students must purchase liability insurance and must meet the TN mandates regarding criminal background checks: Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 5, Part 5610 specifies that all students wishing to enter approved teacher training programs in Tennessee are required to have a fingerprint-based criminal history background check. In order to comply with TCA 49-5-5610, students seeking entry into the STEM Education Program Step One course, must complete this requirement satisfactorily prior to their first field experience. In the event that STEM Education students drop out of UTC and re-enroll in UTC and the STEM Education Program, the students must undergo a second fingerprint-based criminal history background check. Students must also provide proof of current professional liability insurance.
Students pursuing teacher licensure through UTC’s STEM Education program must meet requirements in four sequential checkpoints. The checkpoints control admission to the STEM Education program, admission to apprentice teaching, and recommendation for licensure.
Included in the checkpoint requirements are successful completion of specific coursework, achievement of appropriate grade point averages, and appropriate test scores on the ACT, SAT or Praxis I, as well as on the state-mandated Praxis II tests for the licensure area. In addition, specified paperwork must be submitted in each checkpoint, including successful completion of the preliminary portfolio prior to Apprentice Teaching, and final portfolio at the culmination of Apprentice Teaching. Success in meeting checkpoint requirements leads to success in completing the STEM Education program.
Checkpoint 1: Acceptable fingerprinting check.
Checkpoint 2: minimum 22 on the ACT or passing score on Praxis I; minimum 2.5 GPA (UTC and cumulative); successful completion of Step 1 and Step 2; application to the STEM Education program submitted; successful interview and essay.
Checkpoint 3: minimum 2.75 GPA (UTC, cumulative, STEM, and content); successful completion of all other STEM courses (and MATH 2300 for Mathematics majors) except Apprentice Teaching; passing score on preliminary portfolio; successful completion of Praxis II exams; Apprentice Teaching application accepted; resume submitted.
Checkpoint 4: Successful completion of Apprentice Teaching; acceptable submission of all documentation consisting of portfolio, reflection, school culture assignment, and secondary student learning evaluations; summary of hours; focused observation forms; completed final evaluation with acceptable scores on all criteria; submission of time capsule.
Admission to the STEM Education Program*
*Final responsibility for ensuring that these requirements are met prior to being admitted to the STEM Education program rests with the student.
Applicants who demonstrate qualifications and characteristics reasonably expected for entry into the teaching profession will be considered for admission to the STEM Education program once they have successfully completed both STEM 1010 and STEM 1020 or STEM 1030. Selection of qualified students is usually made on the basis of application concurrent with enrollment in STEM 2010, Knowing and Learning, with the exception of transfer students who are required to complete a semester of residence at UTC before their admission can be finalized. Prior to formal application to the STEM Education program, students must consult with an advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences as well as an advisor in the STEM Education program to plan their programs.
To be considered for admission to the STEM Education program, a student must have completed Checkpoint 1 and:
1. Pass the Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST) (or have an ACT composite test score of 22 or above on the Enhanced ACT or a combined verbal and mathematics score of 1020 or above on the Re-centered SAT). These requirements were determined by the Tennessee Board of Education and one of these scores must be met for individuals seeking admission to teacher education programs in Tennessee. UTC is committed to strict adherence to Tennessee Board of Education requirements regarding official admission to teacher education programs. An applicant to the STEM Education program may take the required test(s) an unlimited number of times. For full teacher licensure, the Tennessee Board of Education requires the achievement of state-approved minimum scores on specified tests of the Praxis II Series. Information about the tests may be obtained from the STEM Education Office or the UTC Testing Center.
2. File a formal application to the STEM Education program signed by a STEM Education faculty advisor or co-director.
3. Earn a minimum 2.75 cumulative grade point average, a 2.75 average on all courses taken at UTC, a 2.75 in STEM courses with no grade lower than C, and a 2.75 in content area courses with no grade lower than C.
4. Take and receive a passing score on the STEM Education program writing assessment essay.
5. File a STEM Education program Application for Interview.
6. Complete the STEM Education program interview and receive a positive recommendation from the STEM Education program interview committee.
7. Demonstrate a commitment to: a) professional ethics, b) collaboration, c) diversity, d) self-reflection, e) belief in students’ ability to learn, f) technology, g) the teaching profession, and h) professional growth. These professional dispositions will be assessed in all STEM Education courses. In addition, specific dispositions are sometimes identified as appropriate for individual programs and as a result of other association/organization affiliations. Violations of the UTC Honor Code or student behavior policies as stated in the current UTC Student Handbook may be reviewed by the STEM Education program and may impact the final decision regarding admission to the STEM Education program and/or approval for Apprentice Teaching experiences.
Applicants will receive notification of their STEM Education program admission status following the interview. An applicant who is denied admission will be notified of the deficiencies and of suggested resources or activities which may correct these deficiencies; the decision may be appealed. Information pertaining to the appeals procedure may be obtained from the STEM Education program co-directors or advisor.
Admission to Apprentice Teaching*
*Final responsibility for ensuring that these requirements are met prior to being admitted to Apprentice Teaching rests with the student.
The application for admission to the Apprentice Teaching course must be filed several months preceding the actual experience. If a student plans to apprentice teach during the spring semester of an academic year, the application must be completed and on file no later than September 1 of the preceding year. For apprentice teaching in the fall semester of an academic year, the application should be completed and on file no later than the preceding March 1.
Before admission to Apprentice Teaching, the student must have completed Checkpoints 1 and 2 and:
• Successfully complete all STEM Education coursework through STEM 4010 (students enrolled in STEM 4010 can be provisionally admitted). Exceptions must follow an appeals process (see the STEM Education program Co-Directors).
• Submit an apprentice teaching application with signature of assigned faculty advisor.
• Satisfactorily complete all but at most two courses in content area(s).
• Earn a minimum grade point average of 2.75 on courses completed at UTC, a cumulative 2.75 grade point average on all courses, a 2.75 grade point average in STEM courses with no grade lower than C, a 2.75 grade point average in content area courses with no grade lower than C.
• Receive a passing score on the preliminary portfolio.
• Complete the application for and undergo Hamilton County Substitute Teaching Training.
• Submit passing scores on all required Praxis II tests.
• Submit five copies of an appropriate resume to STEM Education program office, Collins Street Annex, room 114.
All students seeking teaching licensure must have successfully completed the apprentice teaching requirement. Apprentice teaching is a four-hour-per-day, full-semester experience; participants are placed in cohorts in two schools having different characteristics, including one for half a semester in a middle school (grades 7-8) and one for half a semester in a high school (grades 9-12). Assignments vary according to state requirements for the licensure sought.
Apprentice teaching is evaluated on a satisfactory/no credit basis. Successful completion of apprentice teaching requires successful completion of all apprentice teaching related assignments, receiving satisfying scores on apprentice teaching assessments, and successfully completing all seminar requirements. A student not satisfactorily completing Apprentice Teaching will receive a grade of no credit and may have the opportunity to repeat the course.
Final authority for the apprentice teaching placement and teaching assignment rests with the STEM Education program Co-Directors. As a general rule, a student is neither placed in the school from which he or she recently graduated nor placed under the supervision of a relative.
Apprentice Teaching Orientation and Seminar
General orientation seminars concerning Apprentice Teaching are held for all prospective apprentice teachers preceding the apprentice teaching semester. Non-attendance could delay the apprentice teaching experience. Seminars are also held weekly during the apprentice teaching semester, and attendance is mandatory.
Under special circumstances, policies, procedures, and requirements for admission to the STEM Education program and apprentice teaching may be waived or revised at the discretion of the STEM Education Co-Directors.
Recommendation for Licensure
The STEM Education program will recommend licensure only for those students who have successfully completed one or more of the UTC initial licensure or endorsement programs approved by the Tennessee Department of Education. Application forms may be obtained from the STEM Education office, room 114, Collins Street Annex.
Tennessee regulations stipulate that the applicant for an initial teaching license or additional endorsement must be recommended by the designated certifying officer and dean of an approved teacher training institution. To receive this recommendation, the applicant must:
1. Obtain official admission to the STEM Education program.
2. Earn a minimum grade point average of 2.5 in courses completed at UTC, a cumulative 2.5 grade point average on all courses, a 2.5 grade point average in STEM courses with no grade lower than C, a grade point average of 2.5 in content area courses with no grade lower than C.
3. Satisfactorily complete the Apprentice Teaching experience.
4. Fulfill specific departmental requirements in the area of concentration.
5. Achieve minimum scores on the Praxis II tests mandated by the Tennessee Board of Education. (Credit for Apprentice Teaching will not be granted without fulfillment of this requirement.)
UTC does not guarantee that satisfactory completion of a program listed in the UTC Catalog at the time a student is initially admitted to the University will meet all licensure requirements at the time the person applies for initial licensure. This means that UTC will recommend only those applicants who have met all licensure requirements in effect at the time of the University recommendation.
Any student who completes a licensure program at UTC, regardless of whether he or she intends to teach in Tennessee, should apply for Tennessee licensure since many states require an applicant to be licensed in the state where he or she graduated and/or completed an initial licensure program. Licensure standards change frequently; hence, it is prudent to apply for licensure immediately upon graduation or program completion.
A student is considered to have completed UTC’s STEM Education program when Tennessee standards for the Praxis II tests for licensure are met, all course work requirements have been fulfilled, and the degree appropriate to the program has been awarded.
A student who anticipates teaching outside Tennessee is strongly encouraged to request a check sheet of certification requirements from the Department of Education Office of Certification for the state in which he or she plans to teach. Course and competency requirements to satisfy out-of-state certification standards may be in addition to Tennessee licensure requirements and UTC approved degree requirements.