Western Governors University leads the U.S. in STEM teaching grads

Lauren Williams's picture

Western Governors University, www.wgu.edu, the nonprofit, online university with more than 43,000 students in all 50 states, is leading the U.S. in educating math and science teachers, according to a report by higher education research and consulting firm Eduventures. In 2012, WGU was the top overall producer of STEM teaching graduates and led the nation in the following specific degree areas:

  • #1 in master's degrees in mathematics education
  • #1 in bachelor's and master's degrees in biology education
  • #1 in bachelor's and master's degrees in earth science education
  • #1 in master's degrees in physics education
  • #2 in master's degrees in middle school science education
  • #2 in bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry education
  • #4 in bachelor's degrees in physics education

The first online teachers college to earn accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), WGU's Teachers College offers degrees leading to teacher licensure as well as master's degrees in education and education administration. Established in 2003 with the support of the U.S. Department of Education, the Teachers College has more than 11,000 enrolled students and an additional 11,000 graduates. In 2013, WGU was the only online university to be recognized by the National Council on Teacher Quality's Honor Roll.

"Preparing effective STEM educators is a national priority, and from the inception of our Teachers College, WGU has been focused on developing and delivering high-quality math and science education programs," said Dr. Philip Schmidt, Dean of WGU's Teachers College. "The tremendous growth of these programs in less than 10 years is evidence of the need for them as well as their quality."

Like all of WGU's degree programs, the university's teacher education programs are competency-based, an approach that focuses on measuring learning rather than time spent in class. Designed to meet the needs of busy adults with work and family obligations, competency-based learning allows students to advance as soon as they demonstrate mastery of course subject matter. Students have 24/7 access to course materials, studying and learning on their own schedules with the individualized support and guidance of faculty mentors. Because they can move quickly through material they already know, many students can accelerate their time to graduation—the average time to earn a bachelor's degree at WGU is about three years. Tuition at WGU is affordable—about $3,000 per six-month term for teacher education programs—and it is charged at a flat rate, regardless of the number of courses taken. The university is committed to keeping costs as low as possible; tuition has not increased since 2008.

More information about WGU's Teachers College can be found at http://www.wgu.edu/education/online_teaching_degree.

About Western Governors University

Recognized by President Obama as an innovative university that "awards credits based on learning, not seat time," Western Governors University is the only university in the U.S. offering accredited, competency-based bachelor's and master's degree programs at scale. Named one of Fast Company's "Most Innovative Companies for 2013," WGU has been featured on NPR's "All Things Considered," NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, CNN's "Schools of Thought," and in The New York Times. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. WGU's Teachers College is the first exclusively online provider of teacher education to receive accreditation for its teacher licensure programs from NCATE, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The WGU bachelor's and master's nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE*), and its B.S. in Health Informatics is accredited by CAHIIM (Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education).

Western Governors University has partnered with five states to establish state-based universities aimed at adding affordable capacity to state higher education systems. WGU Indiana, WGU Missouri, WGU Tennessee, WGU Texas, and WGU Washington are key elements in their states' strategies for increasing the percentage of adults with bachelor's or master's degrees. These state-endorsed universities offer degree programs that are accredited through WGU. The university has earned the support of more than 20 leading corporations and foundations, including AT&T, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lilly Endowment, HCA, Hewlett-Packard, Lumina Foundation, Microsoft, Oracle, SunGard Higher Education, and Zions Bank. More information is available at www.wgu.edu