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Future Of UNM's Natural Sciences Program In Question

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The University of New Mexico may eliminate a program that trains future educators how to teach natural sciences.

UNM’s Natural Sciences Program has been training primary education majors for 20 years. Professor Mel Strong says students learn not only how to understand natural sciences, but how to teach them as well.

“Instead of, say, sitting in a classroom of 250, listening to a physics professor drone,” Strong explained, “they have entirely hands on activities that are intended to help them understand all the science topics that they will have teach themselves.”

Strong says the number of classes has been shrinking and that the current agreement to extend the program just through the 2016-2017 school year is kicking the problem down the road.  

UNM Dean of Arts and Sciences Mark Peceny said in a statement that future K-8 educators can get what they need from other science courses and that the university is seriously considering cutting the Natural Sciences Program altogether.

Future talks between professors and deans will determine if and when that happens.