UNH gets STEM imbalance grant 

The University of New Hampshire announced it is receiving a $3.4 million grant to address gender imbalance among faculty in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Leaders in education have long lamented the lack of female academics showing an interest in the so-called STEM subjects and have noted that young girls often have to be engaged in math and sciences early on so they do not fall behind their male counterparts.

"As long as women are underrepresented in senior faculty positions, female students will not see themselves as reaching the top in either industry or academia. Economic recovery and growth requires that we rally all aspects of cognitive and workforce diversity to add perspective and improve the creative problem solving and innovation required to compete in the 21st-century global economy," said Christine Shea, professor of technology and operations management at the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at UNH.

Shea, Karen Graham, professor of mathematics and director of the Joan and James Leitzel Center, and Sam Mukasa, dean of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, are serving as three investigators on the $3.4 million ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant from the National Science Foundation to address gender imbalance among UNH faculty in the STEM subjects.

UNH Provost John Aber is the principal investigator on the grant. "The award carries a high expectation for the effectiveness of outcomes. Institutional transformation means just that, and I look forward to leveraging this investment from NSF to continue and enhance the great success of all underrepresented minorities on campus," he said.

Under the grant, UNH will seek to increase STEM faculty representation through changes in recruitment and retention policies and practices; improve support and department-level climate for STEM faculty women; conduct a wage equity analysis; develop more flexible workplace policies to support career advancement for STEM faculty women; and create and maintain campus-wide awareness of the issues.

This latest grant builds on a $1.3 million ADVANCE Partnerships for Adaptation, Implementation and Dissemination grant UNH received in 2008 as part of a national effort to transform institutions of higher education in areas where women are traditionally underrepresented.

source: http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20121024-NEWS-210240375 

UNH receives $1.2M for after-school science program 

The University of New Hampshire Department of Education has received a $1.2 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to implement a science-based after-school program and to research whether the program improves science achievement in traditionally underachieving groups.

The project will engage over 2000 rural and indigenous youth in after-school programs across New England in which they will map sustainable practices within their communities. The goal is to strengthen the connection for youth between science and their home and community lives.

Rural and indigenous children experience higher dropout rates, perform worse on science achievement tests, and are underrepresented in science careers as compared to non-rural students, according to the researchers. The research team believes that children are always motivated to learn, although they sometimes engage in behaviors that both hinder their academic performance and establish identities as “unmotivated students.”

The interdisciplinary research team consists of lead researcher Eleanor Abrams, professor of education and senior faculty fellow with the Office of the Vice Provost for Engagement and Academic Outreach; Michael Middleton, associate professor of education, chair of the Department of Education; Tom Kelly, chief sustainability officer at UNH and director of the UNH Sustainability Institute; Judy Dow, traditional ecological knowledge educator at Gedakina, Inc.; Rick Pouliot, executive director of Gedakina, Inc.; Ruth Varner, research associate professor in Earth sciences; Claes Thelemarck, extension field specialist with UNH Cooperative Extension; Mike Young, program team leader with UNH Cooperative Extension; and Patrick Messer, director of the UNH Research Computing and Instrumentation Center.

“When students learn science in a way that’s connected to their daily lives and personal interests, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated to learn more. Our research team has undertaken the ambitious project to create science learning opportunities deeply connected to adolescents’ lives and to research the impact of participation on their science learning and motivation,” Abrams said.

“One component of our project that we anticipate will enhance motivation is making the work relevant and meaningful to students’ own lives. In rural majority and indigenous students, relevance may go beyond superficial connections and resides in their ability to be productive members of their community,” Middleton said.

On a small scale, sustainability science programming has been shown to be successful in helping students learn by integrating key information and community practices through place-based learning. 
The three-year project will examine changes in the knowledge, attitudes, and motivation of more than 2,000 rural and indigenous youth across New England for learning sustainability science as they participate in MSP projects. MSP is not a single prescribed activity but is a way to contextualize science learning by providing a unifying framework while allowing each community team to create approaches based on local strengths and interests.

The researchers plan to share the results of the project — effective MSP approaches and descriptions of the learning contexts and student products — with science educators through a project-sponsored conference and interactive geographic information system (GIS) websites.

“This project has the potential to inform best practices for enhancing achievement in science, to create a model that may be scaled up to other communities, and to promote ecological and cultural sustainability in unique communities,” Abrams said.

source: http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20120926-NEWS-120929815 


TechNet Applauds the Obama Administration's Newly Established National STEM Master Teacher Corps; Urges Congress to Approve Budget


TechNet, the bipartisan policy and political network of technology CEOs and senior executives that promotes the growth of the innovation economy, today applauded the Obama Administration for establishing the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Master Teacher Corps.
Built on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) call to strengthen STEM education in America and to leverage and recognize talented STEM teachers, the STEM Master Teacher Corps will dedicate $1 billion to support 50 STEM teachers at 50 different sites, with hopes of growing over four years to reach 10,000 Master Teachers. The Administration also announced an immediate $100 million for the existing Teacher Incentive Fund toward helping school districts implement high-quality plans to establish career ladders that identify, develop and leverage highly effective STEM teachers.
TechNet and its members have long supported efforts to develop STEM programs within the framework of the country's education system.
"This initiative aligns with what the tech sector has been saying—improving workforce quality means investing in education and educators," said Rey Ramsey, President and CEO of TechNet. "For American business to remain competitive in today's global economy we need to grow our knowledge workforce. Programs like this are an important step forward in helping prepare our kids for the jobs of tomorrow."
A recent survey by TechNet's foundation, ConvergeUS, found that 66 percent of executives said investing in education was very important to making U.S. business competitive as the U.S. Department of Labor projects faster job growth in the future for jobs requiring skills in the STEM field.
TechNet has a long history of leadership in improving the nation's STEM education programs. Since its inception, TechNet has coordinated national efforts to bring technology into the classroom; hosted teacher training programs for STEM educators; and worked with Congress on legislative proposals such as America COMPETES.



Turning STEM Education into Child's Play


Education programs throughout the country, from childcare through post-secondary levels, have embraced STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, a national initiative launched to cultivate the high levels of skill and competence demanded by the modern global workplace. Businesses and community groups have taken the cue, supplying preschools and community centers with computers and new technologies. As laptops and tablets are being placed into younger and younger hands, recent stories  appearing in the Boston Globe and on Fox Boston looked at the ways that preschools and childcare centers are adapting to an increasingly technology-driven world.


In recent years, Head Start, the federally funded program that promotes school readiness, has exhibited a growing focus on science, with ramped up efforts to tie STEM education to early childhood lesson plans by emphasizing the natural math and science concepts which already exist in a child’s daily activities. Describing weather or playing with blocks, sand and water tables pose opportunities to teach pattern recognition; work on counting, measuring and estimation; and even introduce physics.


Ruth-Ann Rasbold is the consortium manager of the Early Childhood Development groupat the UMass Donahue Institute. Rasbold and her staff of regional trainers provide training and planning support to Head Start managers, teachers, home visitors and parents in Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and New Hampshire in a variety of areas, including STEM learning. 


This past fall, the consortium held a mini-conference and workshop for Head Start programs in New Hampshire and Vermont. To address what Rasbold describes as “STEM-shy” teachers and supervisors, The Nature of Science in Early Childhood seminar discussed how children learn and shared strategies for incorporating scientific inquiry into class activities, specifically through blocks and building structures.


Later this spring, the workshop Growing Up Wild will be held for early childhood educators in Vermont and in New Hampshire, focusing on integrating nature and wildlife into preschool lesson plans. In Connecticut, trainers are using Head Start’s recently published High Five Mathematize, which provides ideas for developing lessons on spatial concepts, shape recognition and basic geometry. Trainers are also working with the planners of this year’s Regional Head Start conference (May 8-10, Plymouth MA) which will feature a Keynote by Brian Wells of Raytheon, as well as STEM workshops for educators and parents.


For more information on the ways that teachers and trainers are incorporating STEM into Head Start programs in the New England area, contact Ruth-Ann Rasbold.

The Massachusetts STEM Summit will take place on October 18, 2012.



source: http://www.donahue.umassp.edu/press/news/STEM_HeadStart


New Hampshire town strengthens STEM education

Mathematics teachers throughout New Hampshire's Lilac City school district will take part in a new program dedicated to strengthening their knowledge.

According to Foster's Daily Democrat, teachers across the state are eligible for the Intel Mathematics Training Program for K-8 education. The initiative receives $500,000 in annual funding courtesy of the New Hampshire Department of Education's Math and Science Partnership grant.

The STEM education award is given to a select group of organizations across the state including higher education institutions, elementary schools and tutoring services, according to the DOE website. Together, the partnership works to design, implement and evaluate professional development programs.

"Professional development is usually focused on the pedagogy of teaching," DOE curriculum administrator, Tim Kurtz, told the newspaper. "This program allows (teachers) to step back and focus on their individual content knowledge."

In recent years, politicians have become increasingly interested in STEM education as a means of remaining economically and technologically competitive in the global marketplace. Organizations such as the National Science Foundation have been asked to assist with the development of high-quality curricula and educators to serve the next generation of students.

source: http://www.vexrobotics.com/news/2011/08/new-hampshire-town-strengthens-stem-education/

PSNH Supports Girl Scouts’ Science and Technology Program

Bedford, NH, September 30, 2011—Thanks to a partnership between Public Service of New Hampshire and Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, more girls may consider careers in environmental science, engineering, mathematics or physics when they grow up.
PSNH is donating up to $11,000 for Girl Scout programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to help address the growing need for STEM education initiatives for all girls in grades 4 through 8.
Girl Scouts of the USA research shows that women are underrepresented in STEM fields, even as careers in science and technology are increasing in number.
“PSNH is pleased to support this valuable investment in exciting careers for many of these young girls,” says Paulette Faggiano, PSNH corporate communications manager. “Along with many other organizations throughout the state, PSNH knows that a new generation of talented and skilled workers will be critical to the future health of our businesses and our communities.”
Using Girl Scout and Boston Museum of Science materials, 150 girls in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Keene will enjoy exciting hands-on fun, something Girl Scouts call “discover by doing,” over a series of weeks.
The programs will be run by trained and dedicated volunteers in their own communities, including volunteers from PSNH and experts in engineering, science and technology, to help girls learn how math and science are used in everyday life and work.  
PSNH is New Hampshire’s largest electric utility, generating and distributing clean electricity for more than 500,000 homes and businesses in an environmentally friendly manner.



Envisioneer V6: the best Architercural Software for your Students' Futures!