|Two colleges partner to receive $1.5 million grant|
The College of Arts And Sciences and the College of Education and Human Development have partnered to receive a $1.5 million, three-year grant from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.
The project, “Science, Engineering, and Mathematics for Teachers (ScEnMaT),” offers high-quality professional development opportunities that emphasize content knowledge to selected math and science teachers from “high need” schools as well as others. Teachers selected will earn graduate credits upon successful completion of a workshop or a course. Each workshop/course is designed to enrich participants’ subject content knowledge and pedagogy.
The project will improve the math and science literacy of North Dakota middle and high school students through teacher-faculty partnerships. About 80 teachers, mostly from the state's high need school districts, will have the opportunity to improve their basic knowledge of biology, chemistry, engineering, physics, mathematics, and teaching pedagogy by taking courses. Credits earned for both online and summer workshops may be used toward a graduate certificate. There is no cost for teachers selected to participate.
“This is an effort to provide more preparation for science and math teachers in small schools so that they are able to offer a richer and broader curriculum to the students in those schools,” said Daniel Rice, dean of the College of Education and Human Development and co-project director.
UND faculty will also visit schools to meet with their teacher partners and help them incorporate content knowledge into the middle school and high school curriculum. Through the cooperation of the North Dakota Educational Standards and Practices Board, this project will increase the disciplines in which teachers may be licensed and meet the highly qualified criteria established by No Child Left Behind legislation.
“Each semester, I find that about a third of the students enrolling in my University physics I class do not have the high school science background expected of them,” said Kanishka Marasinghe, associate professor of physics. “Quite a few of these unprepared students get frustrated within the first few weeks of the semester and end up dropping the course, thereby losing money, time, and confidence. Talking to these students, it has become clear to me that there is in our state, especially in rural areas, a significant need for math and science teachers who are rich in content knowledge. Through project ScEnMaT, we can meet that need.”
A major goal of this project is to cultivate lasting professional partnerships between participating teachers and a group of highly-qualified UND faculty. These partnerships and professional development opportunities should help improve math and science literacy of our state’s youth.
The project directors are Martha Potvin, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Rice. Project coordinators are Marasinghe, and Lars Helgeson, associate professor of teaching and learning.
Those interested in this program may visit the project web site at http://www.scenmat.und.edu or contact one of the project coordinators, Lars Helgeson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kanishka Marasinghe (email@example.com) for more information.