While math and science skills are more crucial than ever, the nation faces a critical shortage of scientists, mathematicians and engineers. The secondary teachers needed to teach those subjects are just as hard to find. But UNT programs are helping to meet the need, and graduates are entering professions in the math and science fields at incredible rates.
Teach North Texas
UNT’s Teach North Texas program already is chipping away at the critical teacher shortages in math, science and computer science with first-year enrollment numbers that exceeded five-year projections. The innovative program, already funded by the Greater Texas Foundation and the National Math and Science Initiative, has added support from the Texas Instruments Foundation to fund more master and mentor teachers to guide the students in their journey toward discipline-specific degrees with teaching certification. This spring, more than 145 students are expected to enroll in TNT classes, with the first highly qualified teachers completing their degrees in fall 2010. When fully implemented, TNT will prepare at least 60 teachers a year, adding to the impact that UNT teaching graduates — who stay in the classroom longer than most — already have in education.
UNT continually nurtures new talent through its Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, one of the nation’s most unique programs for producing highly qualified researchers. More than 4,200 budding scientists, engineers, mathematicians and researchers have come through TAMS. In 2009, UNT was once again at the head of the pack, with TAMS students earning more Goldwater Scholarships than students from any other Texas university. TAMS graduates go on to universities such as MIT and Harvard and end up as NASA engineers and neuroscientists. About 45 UNT faculty mentors form a core group that is helping these students succeed, transforming an aptitude for math or science into research that improves the world.
Professional Science Master’s Degrees
Jill Willi sought a professional science master’s degree to augment her chemistry degree with business skills that will allow her to connect scientific discoveries to the marketplace. UNT’s innovative program gives students skills that are in high demand as employers increasingly look for science-trained professionals who also possess business, project management, team building and communication skills. So far, UNT offers the degree in biotechnology, environmental science and industrial chemistry. The university also is working to develop a new PSM degree in cybersecurity.
UNT continues to be at the forefront of innovative teaching and now offers rigorous programs in 12 schools and colleges. Through the perseverance of faculty who embrace the most effective teaching methods to foster learning and creativity, UNT students are thriving in the classroom and beyond.
Undergraduate Research Fellow Megan Trotter helped Kevin Curran, assistant professor of English, with research for his edition of the Samuel Daniel play The Tragedy of Philotas.
Undergraduate Research Initiative
UNT has a long history of offering undergraduate research opportunities and recently launched its Undergraduate Research Initiative to offer more opportunities for undergraduates to get hands-on experience in an even broader range of fields. Featured programs include merchandising and hospitality management, composition studies, design, electrical engineering, English, political science, and marketing and logistics. The program already has provided English majors with the opportunity to conduct research at the Harry Ransom Center, a library and archive that houses 36 million literary manuscripts and 1 million rare books from the U.S. and Europe.
Many new teachers leave the classroom for other professions within the first five years on the job. Tandra Tyler-Wood, associate professor of educational psychology, is leading a group of UNT researchers who want to change that. The group is studying and developing teaching methods for first-time teachers that will help keep more of them in the classroom. With funding from the National Science Foundation, the team of faculty from the College of Education and College of Information is evaluating simSchool, an online classroom simulator that allows budding teachers to run sample lessons and observe how each simulated pupil responds to different teaching methods. Already, the team has found that undergraduate students using simSchool have increased confidence and improved teaching skills.
A UNT education is built on carefully planned programs to share knowledge with students and help them hone their critical thinking skills through capstone courses. One such course in the College of Business immerses students in strategy and hands-on experience by asking them to tackle management-level decisions that exist at real companies. Working in teams, students analyze problems and come up with solutions that will maximize performance and maintain unity across departments. To provide practice in collaboration, the instructors of the course pioneered the use of Wikis as a tool for managing knowledge and improving student learning.
UNT’s One O’Clock Lab Band earned 2 Grammy nominations this year, bringing its total to six.
UNT’s One O’Clock Lab Band now has six Grammy nominations among its list of accolades after earning two new nominations this year. The jazz studies program — the first of its kind in the nation — rose to international prominence under the direction of Leon Breeden, Professor Emeritus of music, who received an honorary doctorate in 2009. The band, which attended the 2010 Grammy Award ceremony during a California tour, also performed at the World Saxophone Congress in Bangkok, Thailand, in July. Students in most of the College of Music’s world-class programs tour the globe and attract worldwide attention well before they graduate. The A Cappella Choir, led by faculty member Jerry McCoy, was part of the ninth Taipei International Choral Festival, while the Bancroft String Quartet of the Center for Chamber Music Studies performed 10 concerts at the Brahms Chamber Music Festival in Japan. UNT’s music program would not be among the best in the world were it not for the caliber of its faculty. Professor Richard Croft, who performed the role of Gandhi in the opera Satyagraha in the Met premiere in 2007, sang Mozart arias for the re-opening of the Opéra Royal in the Château de Versailles in France and also performed at La Scala in 2009.
Derrick D’Souza, professor of management, works with a class of graduate students.
UNT continues to evolve so graduates have knowledge and experience that is in step with changing industries and new trends. Serving the educational needs of the entire community is a priority.
New Journalism School
With the elevation of UNT’s journalism department to a now independent school, the Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism, UNT is further responding to industry by expanding its career paths. The journalism school teaches students how to communicate and tell stories relevant for society’s needs — skills that are always in demand — and it arms them with knowledge of the latest practices to prepare them for an evolving industry. The school also has a strong reputation through its renowned Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, which attracts giants in literary nonfiction such as three-time Nobel Prize nominee Joyce Carol Oates, Pulitzer Prize winner N. Scott Momaday and travel writer Paul Theroux. And the Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism continues to be the only nationally accredited professional journalism program in Texas.
Beginning next fall, Texas students interested in a career in aviation will no longer have to look out of state for an affordable four-year degree. This year, UNT will become the first Texas public college or university to offer a bachelor of science in aviation logistics. The College of Business’ program will provide a unique combination of aviation and logistics that will give UNT graduates a broad perspective so they may pursue career opportunities in all facets of the aviation industry.
New Engineering Programs
UNT’s College of Engineering students study in a 500,000-square-foot research facility designed to foster collaboration and nurture new programs that emphasize the understanding of engineering and business. Hands-on research is a key component of the engineering programs, and that is giving students an edge in industry. In spring 2009, the Department of Engineering Technology launched the state’s first graduate degree program in engineering systems, an emerging field that blends engineering with business know-how. Students in the program can choose concentrations in electrical systems, mechanical systems and — developed in collaboration with the College of Business — construction management and engineering management. All are fields with significant demand. The collaborative effort also includes a dual M.S. in engineering systems and an M.B.A.
Learning is unlimited at UNT. The Center for Achievement and Lifelong Learning’s new Emeritus College and Grandparents University draw students from every facet of the community. Aimed at individuals age 50 and older, the Emeritus College offers not-for-credit courses, lectures, field trips and travel opportunities conducted by emeritus faculty and other academic leaders. In summer 2009, UNT also unveiled its Grandparents University, a two-day summer camp that allows grandparents and their grandchildren to explore knowledge side-by-side.
UNT’s mariachi summer camp is more than a music program for Hispanic and underserved sixth- to 12th-graders. It’s often the first taste of college the students get. The same is true for many of the more than 17,000 schoolchildren who come to campus each year on field trips to study environmental science at the Elm Fork Education Center. The outreach program ignites a spark that has brought participants back to UNT as college students. UNT offers numerous other educational opportunities for school-age students each year, including the Texas Governor’s School, which invites 10th-graders from across Texas to explore science and technology and their impacts on society. The University also hosts the Texas BEST Robotics Competition, which attracts teams of middle school and high school students from across Texas and New Mexico.