- Your Voice
On Nov. 6, the Town of Oro Valley received an award for Best Public Outreach General/Comprehensive Plan category from the Arizona Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA), for its work on Phase 1—Let’s Talk—of the Your Voice, Our Future project. Your Voice, Our Future is the Town’s general plan update, as required every ten years by Arizona state statute.
A large number of local northwest area athletes will continue their athletic careers at the college level. In total 21 area high school athletes signed National Letters of Intent to accept athletic scholarships, with at least five more signing this week.
Four UA professors have received the 2014 Humanities Seminars Program Superior Teaching Awards. Now entering its 31st year, the program, which is designed for adult learners, has served 15,000 people in the greater Tucson area. This year’s awards bring to $239,000 the total payments to University of Arizona faculty members from the Humanities Seminars Endowment for Superior Teaching.
The Oak Ridge Boys return to Desert Diamond Casino’s Diamond Center on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 as part of their Boys Night Out tour. Tickets go on sale Nov. 8 at 10 a.m. through Star Tickets and start at $30. Tickets are also available at Desert Diamond’s Rewards Center, which offers a 10 percent discount to Diamond Rewards Members. Doors open at 7 p.m.; show starts at 8 p.m. This show is all ages and is sponsored by KIIM FM.
It was announced last week that Oro Valley Police Chief Daniel Sharp has been selected to receive the prestigious 2014 J. Stannard Baker Award.
(BPT) - Her grandfather fought in World War II, her father in Vietnam and her college boyfriend in Desert Storm. Her best friend of 30 years was a Navy recruiter. Yet when Vivian Wall’s two young children asked why they should care about Veterans Day, she was unsure how to communicate its significance.
FC Tucson and Major League Soccer have announced that five teams will take part in the 2015 Desert Friendlies and that an updated group of six teams will compete in the 2015 FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup.
Earlier this month 13 Oro Valley Dolphin football players were honored at a scholarship luncheon for the Tucson Youth Football and Spirit Federation.
(NAPSI)—Every year, millions of Medicare beneficiaries must decide which Medicare Advantage plan to enroll in. During Medicare’s annual open enrollment period, October 15-December 7, you can change Medicare Advantage (MA) plans or enroll in one for the first time. Important factors to consider include premium costs, choice of doctors and plan benefits. But there is one other important question: What is the quality rating of the plan?
Five-time Academy Award nominee Brad Pitt delivers another gritty performance in this intense, gripping World War II thriller. The 50-year old actor more than holds his own as the very capable and confident Army sergeant leading a five-man tank crew against Nazis in 1945 Germany. Pitt, along with the other well cast soldiers in the movie, poignantly demonstrate the horrors found on the battlefield while showcasing the courage to stand up for each other even when their situation turns dire.
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.