NEWS

CyberTeach-LA offers STEM students pathway to teach computer science

Apr 7, 2021 | Applied and Natural Sciences, Education, Engineering and Science, General News

Beginning in Fall 2021, Louisiana Tech University will offer science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors a pathway to earn certification as computer science educators through the CyberTeach-LA program.

CyberTeach-LA wordmarkProgram applicants have the opportunity to earn scholarship awards of $16,600 per year for up to two years ($33,200 total) while engaged in classes that will prepare them to share their passion for computer science and technology with the next generation of computer experts.

Scholarship recipients must serve as a STEM teacher in a high-need school district for two years for each full year of a scholarship funding received.

Computing occupations are the No. 1 source of all new wages in the United States and make up over half of all projected new jobs in STEM fields. Louisiana currently has almost 2,500 open computing jobs. Yet in Louisiana, only 16 percent of all public high schools teach computer science, and 70 percent of the teachers of those courses are not certified to teach computer science.

An interdisciplinary project team from the College of Education and the College of Engineering and Science, in partnership with six high-need school districts (Bienville, Caddo, Lincoln, Ouachita, Richland, and Winn Parishes) and CYBER.org, set out to address the need for computer science education in the state by developing the CyberTeach-LA project, a dedicated computer science education pathway within Louisiana Tech’s existing UTeachTech program.

UTeachTech is a teacher preparation program that allows STEM majors to earn a minor in secondary education and certification to teach high school along with their content degree, giving them more opportunities after they graduate.

“The goal of the CyberTeach-LA project is to serve as a catalyst for change in Louisiana computer science education,” said Dr. Laura Bostick, Associate Director of UTeachTech. “On average, a teacher affects 3,000 children over the course of his or her career, so our 20 CyberTeach-LA graduates potentially could give 60,000 students in Louisiana access to computer science education. That number gets a lot bigger when you consider the number of current teachers in Louisiana and across the country we can train through our online computer science education certificate program.”

Over a five-year period, $1.2 million in grant funding from the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program will be used to recruit, prepare, and retain 20 STEM teachers highly trained in computer science principles to teach in rural, high-need north Louisiana schools by providing:

  • scholarships support for students in the program,
  • internship support to recruit prospective CyberTeach-LA students,
  • a new, online computer science education certificate program
  • dedicated induction and ongoing support for graduates of the program

The program is open to Louisiana Tech computer science and cyber engineering majors, computer science minors, and other STEM majors interested in computer science, with a focus on increasing participation of underrepresented groups. For more information on the program, visit UTeachTech.com/CyberTeach.