USAO Joins State Regents’ Efforts through Inspired to Teach Program

Graphic with the outline of an apple surrounding the text Oklahoma Future Teacher Scholarship and Employment Incentive Program "Inspired to Teach" over a background of blue puzzle pieces
Scholarships and employment incentives aim to recruit and retain Oklahoma educators

The University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma has joined the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s efforts to support the teacher pipeline through the Oklahoma Future Teacher Scholarship and Employment Incentive Program, also known as “Inspired to Teach,” which was established by House Bill 3564 during the 2022 legislative session.

The program, which aims to recruit and retain future educators in the state, offers scholarships of $1,000 per academic year for up to three years for full-time students in an accredited teacher education program who have earned less than 90 credit hours. It will provide $2,500 for the final academic year for full-time students with more than 90 completed hours.

For scholarship recipients who complete their degree and go on to employment as traditionally prepared and certified teachers in Oklahoma public schools, Inspired to Teach may provide incentive payments of up to $4,000 for each consecutive year of satisfactory service for up to five years.

“We hope this program will provide an extra incentive needed to attract candidates to the teaching field and help ensure that they stay in Oklahoma in order to address the critical teacher shortage in our state,” said Dr. Sarah Layman, dean of the school of education and speech-language pathology, director of teacher education and professor of education. “It is imperative that we meet the needs of the young people in Oklahoma who are counting on their teachers to help to prepare them for a successful life in our complex and ever-changing society.”

USAO has a long and storied history of graduating exceptionally well-rounded, well-prepared and highly sought-after educators for every grade level. Graduates have a 100 percent placement rate in school districts and stay in the field long-term.

Preparing students to teach within their chosen major from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade, USAO currently offers bachelor’s degrees in Deaf education, early childhood education and elementary education. Additionally, students can earn their teacher certification in art, English, instrumental music, mathematics, physical education, science, social studies and vocal music. Its Deaf education program is the only such program in the state.

To be eligible for the Inspired to Teach program, students must have graduated from an Oklahoma high school, meet the admissions standards at a public or private Oklahoma college or university with an accredited teacher education program and declare a major within that program. Participants must maintain full-time enrollment as well as a minimum 2.5 GPA and agree to teach in an Oklahoma public school—pre-kindergarten through 12th grade—for at least five consecutive years after completing their degree and receiving their teaching license.

For more information, contact Dr. Layman at 405-574-1253

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