IIT College of Science Offers New STEM Education Minor

IIT College of Science has developed a new pathway to a teaching license in Illinois: the STEM Education minor. Students who major in mathematics, science, or engineering can take at a maximum of seven courses/24 credit hours of STEM education classes to earn the minor.

Together, the B.S. and minor will meet all requirements for licensure by the State of Illinois to teach secondary mathematics (grades 6-12) and/or secondary science—biology, chemistry, or physics (grades 6–12).

As Illinois prepares to implement Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) beginning with the 2016–17 school year, there is a growing need for teachers who can help meet the new standards. In fact, in recent years, there has been a growing preference for teachers with a degree in science (or mathematics, which also has rising standards) as well as knowledge about how to teach it.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in 2007-8, fewer than half of chemistry and physics teachers majored in the subject they taught, and just 25 percent of math teachers had a math degree. It is clear that this is not enough.

The new minor helps to respond to that need. Courses for the minor include Analysis of Classrooms; Middle & Secondary Curriculum; Instructional Methods/Strategies I; Inquiry & Problem Solving; Instructional Methods/Strategies II; Advanced Methods for Inclusive Instruction; and Professional Internship (student teaching). Most students will be able to complete their major and minor in four and a half years, possibly including one or two summers.

To be a licensed secondary math teacher in Illinois, you must have 24 credits of math, 12 of which need to be 300-level or higher. Science teachers need 32 credit hours in science. At least 12 of these need to be in your primary science area (biology, chemistry, or physics), and you need at least one course in the other two areas as well.

The new minor gives students the flexibility to teach or not. Note: The existing pathways to licensure will continue for all students currently enrolled.

For more information, contact Judith Lederman, associate professor and director of teacher education, at ledermanj@iit.edu or 312.567.3662.