MITEP: Bringing Knowledge to Middle Schools in Michigan

by Tom Schneider, student writer

First impressions are everything--especially in education.

This is the driving idea behind a five-year project led by Michigan Tech geosciences and education faculty to improve science education in Michigan. Faculty will work with middle-school earth science teachers to improve instruction and curricula for what is often a student's first science class.

Declining interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses has led educators to focus on sparking interest at an early age. One means of doing this is the Michigan Institute for Teaching Excellence Program, or MITEP, recently funded by a grant of $4 million from the National Science Foundation.

Michigan Tech received one of only four NSF grants nationwide totaling $18.7 million to establish math and science teacher institutes. The institutes are part of a larger NSF program called the Math and Science Partnership.

MITEP will focus on improving curriculum through instructional modules, assessments and professional development offerings for educators. University researchers will guide the teachers' efforts and provide pedagogical expertise and knowledge from various disciplines.

University involvement with teachers will be through a variety of methods, including distance-learning programs as well as direct involvement with developing programs. Grand Rapids public schools will be a focal point of the program, with the greatest number of teachers involved.

The project, due to start in January 2009, follows a long tradition of high-quality teacher improvement at Tech. Teachers involved in the program will receive credit towards a master's degree while improving instruction.

"It's the natural development of things many of us have been doing on campus for years," explains Jacqueline Huntoon, dean of the Michigan Tech Graduate School. "It's a credit to all those in teacher education at Tech to be selected for the award."

Tech faculty will be collaborating with scientists from Grand Valley State University, the American Geological Institute, the National Park Service, and the Grand Rapids Area Pre-College Engineering Program. An external evaluation team from the Colorado School of Mines will oversee data collection and analysis.

"If this effort works, it could be a template for improvement in STEM education throughout the whole country because we think the educational problems in Michigan are quite typical for the country," explains Bill Rose, geology professor and lead researcher on the project.

Faculty members working with Huntoon and Rose include Bradley Baltensperger and Kedmon Hungwe, of the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences, and Christopher Wojick, of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Reminder: Deadline for Year-End Donations to Michigan Tech Dec. 31

by Paula Nutini

Many donors make year-end gifts to the University in order to benefit from a tax deduction for the current year. If any department on campus receives a contribution (either through the mail or delivered in person) intended for credit in 2008, please forward it to the Tech Fund and include the envelope and supporting documents.

Credit card donations and gifts of cash or checks will be accepted at the Tech Fund office (Citizens Bank Building, seventh floor) until 3 p.m. on Dec. 31. A credit card contribution can be made online until 11:55 p.m. on Dec. 31 at http://www.mtf.mtu.edu/give .

Tech relies on the goodwill of donors, and processing their gifts in an efficient and timely manner is crucial to nurture that goodwill.

Reminder: Donations Now Accepted for Giving Baskets

submitted by Educational Opportunity

In keeping with the spirit of the "giving season," the Office of Institutional Diversity and the Department of Educational Opportunity are sponsoring Giving Baskets.

Donations of hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, blankets, nonperishable food items and pet supplies (we can't forget our furry friends in need) are being accepted near the Giving Tree in Carol Argentati's office, on the first floor of the Alumni House/Educational Opportunity Building. Any donations are welcome and would be greatly appreciated.

Donations will be delivered to the women's shelter, Salvation Army and the Copper Country Animal Shelter on Jan. 31 for distribution in our community. By hosting Giving Baskets, we hope to emphasize the warm and caring beliefs that are part of all cultures throughout the world--giving thanks for all that we have and sharing our good fortune with those that are less fortunate.

Thank you for your generosity.

Alumni Association to Host GLI Tournament Pre-Game Party, Discounted Game Tickets Available Online

The Great Lakes Invitational Hockey Tournament, founded by Michigan Tech in 1965, has brought thousands of Michigan Tech alumni, Husky fans and friends to the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit for what is one of the greatest traditions in college hockey.

The Metro-Detroit Chapter of the Michigan Tech Alumni Association invites you to its annual GLI pre-game party, to take place downstairs at the Joe Louis Arena in the Garden Room (outside Olympia Club) one hour prior to game time, at approximately 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 27, and Sunday, Dec. 28. Get your 2008 GLI T-shirts, Doghouse pickled eggs and raffle tickets for an autographed Huskies jersey and Red Wings jersey.

The Huskies will face Michigan at 3 p.m. on Saturday, and the third-place and championship games will begin at 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., respectively, on Sunday.

For more information or to purchase discounted game tickets, visit http://huskylink.mtu.edu/gli2008 .

In Print

Professor Emeritus Karol Pelc (SBE) published a chapter, "Multiple Perspectives on Technology: A Conceptual Model Based on Adam Smith's Theory," in the book "Toward the Future" (in Polish, "Ku Przyszlosci"), edited by M. Rzadkowolska and A. Gorynska and published by the Academic and Professional Publishers, Warsaw, Poland, ISBN 978-83-60807-93-4.

New Funding

Jindong Tan (ECE) has received $145,000 from the University of Michigan for "Framework and Architecture for the Coordination of Human and Robot Formations."