Teacher Academy to Address Shortage

Scott Gift Will Position University to Better Meet Teacher Workforce Needs

Enrollment in Nebraska’s pre-K-12 schools has grown rapidly, from 334,000 in 2009-10 to more than 361,000 today.

The teacher preparation pipeline has not kept pace. The number of Nebraska college students majoring in education has fallen from 7,500 in 2003-04 to 3,600. The number of teaching positions vacant or filled by someone other than a fully qualified teacher has more than tripled, to 232.

With a generous gift from the William and Ruth Scott Family Foundation, the University of Nebraska system will be in an even stronger position to meet this most critical workforce need.

The Scott gift will allow the university to pilot one cohort of a new Teachers Scholars Academy to recruit, retain and develop a larger, highly qualified and more diverse pre-K-12 teaching workforce.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Nebraska at Omaha will begin immediate recruitment for the Teachers Scholars Academy. An inaugural class of more than 100 students is expected next fall. The broad focus will include preparing those educators to serve diverse populations, work in rural schools and teach English language learners.

“Research and common sense tell us that the quality of care and education we receive starting at birth has enormous implications for our success and well-being later in life. It’s vital that we have enough highly qualified educators in Nebraska to carry out this important work,” said University President Hank Bounds.

“We are fortunate to have a wonderful education system in Nebraska staffed by teachers who are great at what they do. There just aren’t enough of them. We’re making this investment in the Teachers Scholars Academy because the future of our state demands we provide a quality education to our young people and families,” said Ruth and Bill Scott.

The gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation will provide full-tuition scholarships plus $8,000 annually for other costs for 104 students who want to become teachers. Students will have access to learning communities and peer networking to strengthen retention and maximize their professional development.

The university and NU Foundation will now begin raising funds for future Academy cohorts.

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