For release: September 26, 2011
For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901-678-2843.
Dr. Mary Ann Rankin, the founder of UTeach, will help the University of Memphis
observe the first anniversary of the introduction of an innovative and successful
teacher education program on its campus. She will be joined by Dr. Richard Rhoda,
executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), and Dr. Shirley
Raines, president of the U of M.
Dr. Mary Ann Rankin
Dr. Rankin, Dr. Rhoda, and Dr. Raines will speak at a breakfast meeting at 8:30 a.m.,
September 29th, in the Rose Theatre on the U of M campus.
UTeach MEmphis is a collaboration between the College of Education and the College
of Arts and Sciences. It allows students majoring in mathematics or science to sample
the world of pre-college teaching and to earn the certification required to teach
either of those subjects in secondary school, while the students continue the coursework
necessary for their Bachelor of Science degree.
As an example of the success that the University’s UTeach MEmphis program has achieved
during its first year of operation, two U of M math majors, EuDarius Jones and Allison
Neubert, worked with a student in a third-grade math class at Shady Grove Elementary
School and made a significant difference in his performance in class. The pair used
such teaching aids as fraction bingo, fraction songs, and the popular childhood game
of Simon Says to help the student understand math more clearly. As a result, said
mentor teacher Phyllis Adams, the student, who had rarely participated in class, particularly
during math lessons, has become much more involved in class, even raising his hand
to give answers. Adams said the student’s math grades have improved noticeably.
Dr. Rankin is currently chief executive officer of the National Math and Science Initiative.
Holding a Ph.D. degree in physiology and behavior from the University of Iowa, she
was a professor and administrator in the College of Natural Sciences at the University
of Texas in Austin from 1975 to 2011. After receiving her degree, but before she
joined the UT faculty, she was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow
at Harvard University.
After being named dean of UT’s College of Natural Sciences, she presided over the
addition of five new science buildings, the development of many interdisciplinary
research initiatives, and the College’s raising more than half a billion dollars from
private donors for its initiatives. Among those initiatives was the UTeach program
for preparation of math and science teachers.
Dr. Rhoda has been the executive director of THEC since 1997, but his involvement
in higher education in Tennessee dates back to 1973, when he was a graduate student
working on the staff of the Tennessee Board of Regents. Since that time, he has worked
with TBR in a number of capacities, including that of acting chancellor after the
death of sitting chancellor Otis Floyd in 1993. He has also served on the administration
of Tennessee State University, as the interim president of Nashville State Technical
Institute, and as the interim president of Austin Peay State University. From 1995
to 1997 he was a faculty member at Vanderbilt University, where he helped establish
the Peabody Center for Education Policy. He holds a Ph.D. degree in higher education
administration from Vanderbilt University.