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Project Title:Transition to Mathematics and Science Teaching (TMAST)Institution Name:University of Central Florida Innovation Category:Teacher Education Project Director:Lisa Dieker, Lockheed Martin Eminent ScholarContact Information:(407) 823-3885, lisa.dieker@ucf.eduWebsite:http://education.ucf.edu/lmacad
Project Description:

TMAST is designed to serve as an effective model for educational reforms proposed by both national and state agencies by providing central Florida schools with teacher leaders who initiate, implement and sustain mathematics and science reform efforts. It is an innovative, fast-track graduate program for STEM professionals who wish to transition into middle grade teaching. The program is funded through an endowment from the Lockheed Martin Corporation and is one of two programs in the Lockheed Martin/UCF Academy for Mathematics and Science (LMA), which is an education/industry/community-based partnership aimed at improving mathematics, science and technology education in Central Florida schools. The TMAST program also has had past and current funding from the Toyota Corporation and Boeing Corporation.   

The TMAST program features:

  • A master's degree with embedded certificate designed for completion in 4 semesters
  • Accelerated, innovative classroom placement
  • A cohort design to promote the development of a professional community
  • Two semesters of  paid internship (clinical supervision experiences)
  • Active, multi-layered mentoring that extends beyond graduation 
  • Considerable tuition support for those who qualify  

The objective of TMAST is to create an effective national model for inducting second career professionals from mathematics and science fields into the education of young adolescent students through a fast-track and innovative experience. The mission of TMAST is to increase the number of qualified middle school mathematics and science teachers by preparing professionals with a mathematics or science background to:

  • Enter the teaching profession through supportive relationships and completion of a master's degree.
  • Learn the art and science of teaching from academic and on-the-job perspectives.
  • Share professional and life experiences so that young adolescents can be prepared for advanced levels of mathematics and science.

Seventy career-changers have enrolled in the TMAST program at UCF since its inception in 2003. All have backgrounds in STEM and enough coursework to qualify them to teach in Florida middle schools. At the time of the most recent study in 2010, 87% had been awarded degrees, 10% had dropped from the program and 3% were still enrolled.

In a recent survey of 63 of the graduates:

One in five survey respondents describe themselves as a team leader or grade level chair, 23% are mentoring other teachers and 43% held no special leadership responsibilities. Twenty-six percent were department chairs. Nine in ten (91%) had participated in school-level workshop(s) or training session(s) in the last year and 34% led in facilitating at least one workshop. Sixty-nine percent participated in district level training sessions with 14% facilitating at least one. Twelve percent had facilitated and 29% had taken at least one college level course.

A full one-half (51%) of TMAST respondents had received some type of award or special recognition related to their career in the last two years.


Challenges/Problems Encountered:The change in the economic climate has impacted the program in that fewer job opportunities exist. Yet one of the greatest challenges has been jobs continue to exist in middle school mathematics and science, but getting people to wait until after the 10 day count of school to be hired is difficult.  Many people are afraid to change or leave a job and risk moving in this climate, but overall we have had success in placing all TMAST graduates into classrooms that are willing to become paper-ready to become teachers.
Evaluation Approach:A survey is conducted annually, and a focus group on the TMAST program is conducted every three years.  The results from this ongoing cohort study include some information about participants’ backgrounds from enrollment records, results from surveys, focus groups and a sample of short video clips of participant responses to key questions. This assessment is conducted by an outside evaluator.
Potential for Replication:This model is easily replicable in that we have both experience and almost a decade of recruiting, preparing and graduating students from this program model.  The challenge for replication would be establishing the strong personal connections and reputation the program has in Central Florida for recruiting, retaining and graduating a strong group of scholars.
CEO-to-CEO Contact:John Hitt , Presidentjhitt@mail.ucf.edu
(407) 823-1823
Date Published: Thursday, January 5, 2012