Redoubling its commitment to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at all age levels, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) today announced an initiative to make obtaining a master’s degree more affordable and more convenient for practicing teachers. Effective in the fall of 2017, WPI will offer its Master of Mathematics for Educators (MME) program for $15,000, a move designed to help more teachers improve their math content knowledge and have a greater impact on their students. The 30-credit graduate program would otherwise cost $25,350.
“We know the path to a successful career in science and engineering often begins with an inspiring and enthusiastic K-12 teacher,” said Kristin Tichenor, WPI Senior Vice President. “But we also know that, due to nationwide teacher shortages in STEM fields, many teachers are being asked to teach math and science subject matter with which they have limited experience and confidence. By lowering the cost of our Master of Mathematics for Educators program and making all the required courses available online, we hope to open the doors for more teachers—who, in turn, will have a multiplied impact on opening doors for students.”
The Department of Education has identified widespread teacher shortages in mathematics, and the National Center for Education Statistics reports a 20 percent vacancy rate for mathematics teachers nationwide. In many states, teachers are required to obtain a master’s degree within a certain timeframe. However, low starting salaries, undergraduate debt obligations, and demanding schedules can make it a challenge for teachers to access master’s degree programs and gain the content background, skills, and confidence needed to be truly effective math teachers.
WPI’s MME program gives teachers a better understanding of critical mathematics principles to help strengthen their content knowledge and their teaching. Participants gain a solid foundation in areas such as geometry, algebra, modeling, discrete math, and statistics, as well as the use of modern applications.
The curriculum follows WPI’s project-based approach to education, in which students apply what they learn to complete problem-focused projects. The MME program teaches educators how to use math-based classroom activities to deliver engaging material, and places a special emphasis on subject matter and content, to ensure that they understand the topics and are able to fully impart that knowledge in their classrooms. The program is open to middle school, high school, and community college educators, and all courses are available online.
“It’s really gratifying that WPI is able to offer this reduced-cost program for teachers,” said John Goulet, teaching professor of mathematical sciences and coordinator of the MME program. “For more than 40 years WPI’s program has helped teachers not only build expertise in mathematics but also develop strategies and applicable skills they will use throughout their careers. I believe quite strongly in WPI’s commitment to supporting educators, and I hope our lowered costs and online options let more teachers take advantage of our program.”
For more details on the MME program, visit https://www.wpi.edu/academics/study/mathematics-for-educators-mme.