The University of Houston Magazine

Impacting Math and Science Education

UH’s teachHOUSTON Program Inspires Former Regent.

by Michelle Klump

John CaterAs a long-time education advocate, John Cater watched with interest over the years as he saw great strides being made in reading education, in part due to work done by researchers at the University of Houston.

When he heard about the development of the teachHOUSTON program, which encourages math and science students to prepare for careers in teaching, it was enough to call Cater back into service at the University of Houston. Cater previously served as a member of the UH System Board of Regents from 1989 to 1995, including a stint as chairman from 1991 to 1993.

"The program excited me as an opportunity to have a real impact in the Houston-area schools,” says Cater, who serves as chairman of the teachHOUSTON Advisory Committee. “Where we have fallen behind is teaching math and science. This program is one that actually seems to be unique in the way it addresses the problem.”

Modeled after UT-Austin’s successful UTeach program, the teachHOUSTON program recruits students early, offers five semesters of opportunities for students to practice teaching and provides strong mentoring extending through the first two years of teaching after graduation.

Jeff Morgan (’81, M.S. ’83, Ph.D. ’86), chair of UH’s math department and one of the co-directors of the program, foresees the program resulting in more than 1,000 new math and science teachers in the Houston area by 2025.

As Advisory Committee chairman, Cater has a dual role — to broaden community awareness and to raise money, both for operations and for the endowment. Of particular importance is a goal to raise $1 million for the endowment by the summer of 2011, to receive matching funds from the National Math and Science Initiative.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to make an impact on what happens in this community,” Cater says of the committee’s work.

“It’s also exciting to be a part of an innovative program at UH, as the university continues to strive toward Tier One.

“Having seen the University of Houston grow from when I came to Houston 50 years ago, to when I got involved on a day-to-day basis 20 years ago, to where it is now, is really a remarkable story,” Cater says.