explorernews.com on Facebook
- Video Gallery
- Special Sections
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $25 million in funding to invest in Arizona for statewide improvements in local water infrastructure and the reduction of water pollution.
The National Cancer Institute has awarded the University of Arizona Cancer Center a $1.8 million grant to continue training cancer researchers for the future.
(BPT) - There’s no denying that STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education is on society’s radar. President Barack Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” initiative hosts a yearly STEM-themed science fair at the White House. STEM summer camps are popping up across the country and hundreds of thousands of parents, educators and policymakers convene annually at STEM conferences nationwide. The nation’s job market even reflects the popularity as recent data shows that across STEM fields, job postings outnumbered unemployed people by almost two to one.
(BPT) - You sneeze when a cat walks by, wheeze through the spring and summer, and can’t even get close to a Christmas tree. As one of the 60 million Americans who suffer from allergies, according to the Allergy and Asthma Association, you may think you’re already aware of everything there is to know about allergies and the allergens that trigger them. You may actually “know” much less than you think.
(NAPSI)—The next time you watch a home improvement show on TV and think “I can do that,” consider this: Through the Do Good With Wood Award program, you may earn national recognition for your creativity with wood combined with your community spirit.
The University of Arizona is helping to enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, as one of just eight sites in the United States chosen to participate in a major national STEM education initiative.
In June 2013, the Association of American Universities announced that the UA and seven other project sites would receive grant funding through the AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative, which was established to address a nationwide demand to improve STEM education and to retain more majors and expand the workforce in STEM fields.
Since then, the UA has made important progress with course redesigns and faculty programs intended to make STEM teaching and learning more engaging.
"We need more STEM majors," said Gail Burd, UA senior vice provost for academic affairs and a principal investigator on the UA's AAU grant. "A lot of evidence points to a loss of students from STEM majors because of the way they're being taught. These are hard subjects, and if it's not engaging and it's hard, students drift away."
Under the AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative, which is funded by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the UA established the UA-AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Project — a comprehensive, interdisciplinary effort intended to expand STEM-related collaborations, curricula and funding opportunities.
Funded through 2016, the UA-AAU STEM Project saw a number of successes in its first year.
Course redesigns promote active learning
Under the leadership of John Pollard, the UA's director of general chemistry, andVicente A. Talanquer, a chemistry and biochemistry professor, a foundational UA chemistry course has been restructured to more actively engage students.
The redesigned "Chemical Thinking" course, in development for three years, debuted this fall to more than 2,400 students in general chemistry, course 151. It incorporates more group-based discussions, problem-solving activities and other forms of active engagement, with less than 10 minutes of the hourlong class devoted to traditional lecture.
Students in an earlier pilot of the course reported better information retention and overall satisfaction with the redesigned course compared to traditional chemistry classes. This fall, four additional instructors are teaching general chemistry using the revamped curriculum for the first time.
"We are working to understand challenges and successes these new faculty might have to implementing the new curriculum with more active and engaged instructional approaches," Burd said.
Modeled after the chemistry course's success, a similar redesign is being introduced in a foundational UA biology class this semester. Meanwhile, the University's introductory course in computer programming for engineering applications has been restructured to include lab time and to emphasize student participation.
New instructional approaches also were introduced in a pilot general physics course last spring, with students reporting positive results in learning outcomes. A redesign also is in the works for the UA's introductory chemical engineering course.
Learning communities, workshops encourage teaching differently
As part of the effort to make STEM classes more engaging, the University has launched professional development opportunities intended to get instructors to think about teaching in new ways.
About 30 STEM faculty members participated in Faculty Learning Communities last year, in which they were tasked to come up with two weeklong engagement activities to teach in their classrooms each semester.
The University also launched a series of "Teaching Talks" and a three-hour workshop, specifically geared toward STEM educators on campus.
"The goal is to stretch beyond those five redesigned introductory courses and change the culture around the way we're teaching all STEM courses," Burd said.
Additional workshops and talks will take place in the coming year, including a daylong workshop with an architect and an expert on learning spaces that will look at how faculty can make the best use of physical spaces to make them more engaging.
As part of that workshop, Pollard will spend a week or two teaching in a nontraditional space — a redesigned journal reading room in the Science and Engineering Library.
As the UA continues to forge new territory in STEM education, it is carefully tracking and analyzing its efforts to determine their effectiveness. Postdoctoral student Jonathan Coxis helping to lead that ongoing assessment, beginning with the redesigned general chemistry course, Burd said. Jane Hunter, an associate professor of practice in the UA's Office of Instruction and Assessment, also has joined the AAU project to provide project support and management.
Other goals for the UA-AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Project, Burd said, include establishing a teaching symposium and developing and expanding teaching awards that recognize and financially reward outstanding STEM educators on campus.
In addition to Burd, the UA-AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Project leaders include co-principal investigators Deb Tomanek, associate vice provost for instruction and assessment; Lisa Elfring, associate professor of molecular and cellular biology; andVicente Talanquer, professor of chemistry and biochemistry.
The AAU is a nonprofit organization of 62 leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada. The 60 AAU universities in the United States award more than half of all U.S. doctoral degrees and 55 percent of those in the sciences and engineering.
Patricia Haynes in the UA College of Medicine has been awarded $3.1 million to study the relationship between unemployment and putting on pounds.
(NAPSI)—A national competition now in its third year is challenging teams of middle- and high-school students to develop concepts for mobile apps that can solve a school or community problem.
In his fifth State of the Town address on Sept. 12, Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath said he is proud of what continues to be accomplished in the community located six miles north of Tucson.
(BPT) - Long, leisurely showers are a distant memory, the days are a busy blur and you’re getting used to never wearing a clean shirt – as the saying goes, parenthood is not for sissies. Yet when your little one greets the day – and you – with a smile, stress seems to melt away.
(NAPSI)—During the 2014-2015 flu season, it’s important to remember that the single best way to prevent influenza (“the flu”) is to get an annual vaccination, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends for everyone aged six months and older, with rare exception. As people age, the immune system weakens, even if they feel healthy and are active, which makes it harder to fight disease. As a result, adults aged 65 and older are more likely to catch the flu and experience complications.
(NewsUSA) - When it comes to natural marketing expertise, there may be no other like Peter Tabibian.
(StatePoint) With classes, sports, homework and other activities, weekdays are action packed for kids. Unfortunately, some students deal with an unwelcome addition to their daily routine -- bullying. An estimated 13 million students are bullied annually, according to government statistics.
(NAPSI)—For the fifth consecutive year, warrior-athletes from across the country compete in Paralympic-style competitions—demonstrating their resilience, camaraderie and courage.
Following three easy steps can help bring a $25,000 award that will help homeless and injured animals at Pima Animal Care Center (PACC). PACC and 49 of the other top animal shelters in the nation have been battling for a share of $100,000 in prizes being offered by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) as part of the Rachael Ray 100K Challenge and now PACC needs your help to win $25,000!
To say that Mark Smith has barbeque in his blood may be an understatement, as this Tucson pitmaster is known to say, “When I sweat, I sweat smoke.”
JW Marriott Starr Pass has announced Russ Bond as its new General Manager. Along with Bond, Dan Carraher has been hired as the new Director of Sales and Marketing, and John Strong has been appointed as Director of Events.
1. White House sends 130 more advisers to Iraq
Thursday, Aug. 14