SHU Secures Math and Science Partnership Grant

From left are SHU Biology Professor Mark Beekey, Liz Buttner of the CT State Department of Higher Education, Sarah Michaels of Clark University, SHU Education Professor Bonnie Maur, Jean Moon of Tidemark Institute and Brian Reiser of Northwestern University.

News Story: February 23, 2014

Sacred Heart University’s Isabelle Farrington College of Education has received a Math and Science Partnership grant in the amount of $349,546 from the State of Connecticut. Phase I of the grant will provide training of institutions of higher education (IHE) faculty, student teaching supervisors and in-service teachers throughout the state. This phase also creates one unit of online professional development that can be used for statewide training. Phase II will provide additional training for student teachers, giving them updates to university methods curricula, and will create two more units of online professional development training for teachers statewide. Professor Bonnie Maur and Annette (Hird) Carbone, academic grants writer, worked on the application and were instrumental in securing the grant.

“The purpose of the grant is to ensure that we begin the process of training not only the teachers of today, but also the teachers of tomorrow,” says Maur. “This program is designed for university professors, scientists, classroom teachers, student teachers and student teaching supervisors with a strong desire to inspire others in the area of science practices, science content and instructional strategies. The participants will be given the tools to promote enhanced science instruction and student learning throughout teacher preparatory programs and K-12 schools, strengthen teachers’ understanding of science content and assist in the development of a more effective scientific teaching practice that will allow students to reach high standards.”

Maur has been an adjunct professor at Sacred Heart for 14 years—teaching courses, writing grants and co-directing grant programs in the Education Department. She noted that the process of writing the application was a tedious one, but worth it. “I collaborated with national experts in the area of science education in conjunction with the IHEs across Connecticut. I hoped the grant committee would see the leadership that could be provided by SHU in promoting changes in the future of science education throughout Connecticut,” she said.

“Enabling our K-12 students to embrace science is essential for active participation in the global economy. This is quality professional development,” said James Carl, dean of the Isabelle Farrington College of Education. “We are pleased to be working with teachers in the Bridgeport Public Schools and other districts across the state.”

For the first time, university professors will collaborate to ensure that methods classes for pre-service teachers will be updated to include the practices of the National Research Council’s framework. Additionally, the grant will help to provide consistency in coursework for all pre-service teachers throughout the state and will create professional development that can be used by school districts statewide.

“With the largest teacher prep program in the state, Sacred Heart University is a natural to lead a project such as this,” said Maur. “Our faculty continuously works to remain current and forward thinking in our approach to teacher and administrative training programming.”