Dr. André Green still recalls the day science became his passion. The teacher of his 11th grade chemistry class in Swainsboro, Ga., where Green grew up, wanted to show the students how chemical compounds can react when combined. The reaction in the experiment was rather spectacular — as was Green's reaction to it.
“I saw that and was hooked,” says Green. “That teacher, and others, made a huge impression on me.”
Green pursued science in his early academic career, earning a bachelor’s and master’s in chemistry from Alabama State and Hampton University, respectively. While studying for his doctorate at Virginia Tech, however, he taught science and math in middle and high school and realized his true passion was teaching. He switched his focus and earned a doctorate in science education in 2006.
Green joined South, impressed by the University’s commitment to expanding its role in training math and science teachers. He now serves as chair of the department of leadership and teacher education, and as interim associate dean of the College of Education.
“South was the right fit for me because of the diverse population of students in Mobile — urban, suburban and rural,” he says. “I felt it was a place I could make my mark.”
Green has made a big mark at South, obtaining multimillion-dollar grants to fund programs aimed at training math and science teachers. Two of these programs, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, are Pathway to Science and Pathway to Mathematics. Through these programs, anyone with an undergraduate degree in a science or math field who is accepted in the program can obtain a master’s in education at South at no cost. The only stipulation is that they teach science or math in an area public school for at least three years. In the seven years the program has been in place, more than 90 percent of the graduates are still teaching.
“There’s a critical shortage of math and science teachers nationwide,” says Green. “We look for every opportunity to support students in their efforts to become teachers.”
Green also oversees the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative, a grant-funded program providing in-service training and equipment to existing K-12 science and math teachers.
“The world has become much more technology driven,” Green says. “Just look at the new industries in Mobile. To have good teachers who can inspire kids to join these professions is very important to our future.”
It’s a future that Green is upbeat about. “I’m excited about what we’re doing at South, and in the College of Education. Here, it’s all about teachers making better schools and benefiting kids. Train a good teacher, and you impact 20 to 30 years of education —literally hundreds, thousands of kids.”