MnSCU awards 11 faculty grants to advance science, technology, engineering and math teaching and learning

Posted: May 27, 2009

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@so.mnscu.edu, 651-201-1426

Eleven faculty members have been awarded grants totaling $305,000 from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system office to advance faculty-led teaching and learning initiatives in science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses, known also as STEM courses.

“These winning projects represent exciting and promising approaches to increasing enrollments in STEM courses, improving student learning outcomes, and graduating more and better-prepared STEM teachers for Minnesota's schools,” said Linda Baer, senior vice chancellor for academic and student services.

Administered by the system’s Center for Teaching and Learning and the P-16 Collaboration unit, the 2008-2009 instructional development grants were selected from 39 applications. The awardees are:

Anoka-Ramsey Community College - $28,076 for Success Stepping into College, a project led by Nina Bohrod that involves collaboration with local high schools to create a summer bridge program emphasizing classroom and lab instruction and student support during the academic year to ensure student success in STEM coursework.

Century College - $9,700 for Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning Assignments for Biology Courses led by Renu Kumar. This instructional method seeks to actively engage students in learning content while fostering essential problem-solving, analytical and critical thinking skills required in scientific careers.

Normandale Community College - $20,520 for Improving Student Access to College-Level Mathematics, a project led by Margaret Rejto that expands a previously funded project to increase the percentage of students who pass mathematics courses and to recruit underrepresented students.

Minnesota State University Moorhead - $9,902 for Studying and Changing the Culture of STEM: a Novel Collaboration between Biosciences and Women’s Studies, a project in which Linda Fuselier will apply lessons learned from a nationally recognized program to encourage women to participate in science.

Northeast Higher Education District-Hibbing Community College - $4,457 for the Math/Engineering Initiative, a project in which Amy Riipinen will lead a team of mathematics and engineering faculty in developing a curriculum that will allow calculus students to apply real-world physics concepts and change the course delivery to applied learning rather than the traditional lecture method.

Northeast Higher Education District-Itasca Community College - $41,999 for the college’s Class Act Program - More and Better STEM Teachers, a partnership with seven school districts led by Shane Holm and Bemidji State University to expand Itasca’s pre-education track by adding a new cohort of students interested in teaching STEM disciplines.

St. Cloud State University - $39,918 for Utilizing Learning Assistants in STEM Courses, a project led by Rebecca Krystyniak that will build upon a previous project that redesigned a large-enrollment introductory chemistry course. This project applies the same redesign approaches to a sophomore-level chemistry class and an introductory statistics course.

Metropolitan State University - $25,514 for Using Social and Environmental Issues to Increase Student Success in Mathematics, a project led by Rikki Wagstrom that seeks to increase student retention in introductory mathematics through the development and implementation of two innovative courses and adaptation of tutoring practices and services to better meet the needs of students enrolled in the new courses.

Winona State University - $107,000 for Toward the Creation of a Statewide Infrastructure for STEM Education and STEM Teacher Support, a comprehensive two-year statewide initiative led by Catherine Summa that will provide faculty development and resources for college students studying to be teachers. The project is a partnership with the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Winona State University - $8,000 for Teaching and Learning Science with Learning Assistants, a project led by Andrew Ferstl that will use learning assistants in an integrated science class for pre-service elementary school teachers. The assistants will attend class, mentor students through science activities and act as liaisons between students and instructors.

Winona State University - $10,000 for Self-Explanation Tutorials on Pre-requisite Material for Calculus I Students, a project led by Aaron Wangberg that will develop 150 self-explanation tutorials for 75 students in two calculus courses to improve the percentage of students who pass that mathematics class.

The 11 projects will begin this month and be completed by June 2011.