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MS pilot program updates high school teachers (1/2/97)

Do you go home after work, kick off your shoes, and relax? Fifteen teachers who are enrolled in the master of science evening program at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC) do not; instead, after teaching all day these area educators hurry back to the classroom as students.

Several faculty members in the department of microbiology at the HSC don't spend their evenings watching television, either. Professors in the department have always had an avid interest in local science teachers and Dr. Joel Baseman, chairman of the department, and Drs. Joan Ratner, Vic Tyron and Stephen Mattingly have taught a multi-week course every summer for the past several years. They and other faculty members who volunteer their time during the evening without compensation have already put in a full day instructing medical, dental, and graduate students.

Stephen J. Mattingly, Ph.D., professor in the department of microbiology at UTHSC, decided when the National Science Education standards were last published that higher education should play a larger role in teaching science in our elementary and high schools.

"That is how our Master of Science evening program was born," said Dr. Mattingly, program director. "This course is the first evening program in the nation designed specifically for K-12 teachers that offers an MS in microbiology. Our students represent ten school districts, and some drive in from outside the city."

Michelle Barnet, Bandera, is a teacher at Center Point ISD; Dottie Collins, Seguin, is employed by Judson ISD. Sue Creech, Mike Dovalina, and Tony Pierson are with San Antonio ISD and live in the city; Earl Fletcher, Converse, teaches at East Central ISD; and Ed Heskew, San Antonio, and Catherine Meurin, Converse, teach at Southwest ISD.

Two Northside educators are also enrolled - Jean Makusky and Elizabeth Trevino, San Antonio. Connie Nixon, Jourdanton, and Ken Davis, Pleasanton, are with Jourdanton ISD. Diana Gonzalez Tudyk, San Antonio, is employed by Harlandale ISD; and Martha Doenges, Boerne, is with Boerne ISD.

Sue Creech speaks for the group. "This is a very intensive class," she states emphatically, "especially after teaching all day. Sometimes its difficult to make it but everything I've learned can be used in my classroom in the future, so its worth every minute."

"This is a non-overlapping program with the teachers scheduled to graduate at the end of the 1998 spring semester," states Dr. Mattingly. "A new class will then begin."

If the present program proves successful, which seems to be happening, it will be extended to other teachers in the South Texas area through teleconferences. Also, a summer residency will be offered in the HSC laboratory.

Because the microbiology pilot program appears to be so successful, other departments at HSC are considering teaching programs.

More information about the program is available by calling (210) 567-3934.

Contact: Jan Elkins (210) 567-2570