Letter to the editor: Rescind cancellation

To the editor:

If you were a college administrator, what would you do if a successful relatively low-cost program under your auspices provides a vital service to the state of Kansas? If you’re the interim dean of KU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the program is the STEM teaching program UKanTeach, apparently you would cancel the program ASAP without consulting any of its staff or students or partner STEM departments.

The provost told us that the “School of Education has a plan in place” to replace UKanTeach. However, no details of such a plan have been released. Enrollment for the spring semester starts Oct. 17, and current students (and their advisers) have no information on how to proceed. Furthermore, students applying for fall 2020 have no options for secondary math or science teacher preparation.

The School of Education’s previous degree program to prepare high school math and science teachers was discontinued after UKanTeach was established, when the School of Education moved from five-year to four-year degree programs. The old five-year program cannot just be resurrected; old courses no longer exist, and faculty have retired or been assigned other responsibilities. And legally KU can’t just rework UKanTeach courses; they are copyrighted (a fact that shocks us). A new program cannot be created in one semester.

We urge KU’s administration to rescind the immediate closure of UKanTeach and not consider dismantling it until and unless it develops a fully formed equivalently excellent STEM teaching preparation program.

Marge Bayer, KU professor of mathematics, Lawrence

Judy Roitman, KU professor emeritus of mathematics, Lawrence

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