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TU launches BEST project

$1 million outreach targets expansion of†TU's education efforts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics

TOWSON, Md. (October 28, 2009) - Aided by a $1 million earmark from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and in collaboration with the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (UMBI) and Coppin State University, TU recently launched the Baltimore Excellence in†Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Teaching (BEST) Project. In an effort to expand TUís STEM education efforts, the BEST program will focus on recruitment and retention of grades 6-12 in-service STEM teachers. It will offer training and mentoring opportunities to its participants while providing educational outreach to students.

BEST initiatives at both TU and Coppin are geared to address retention of secondary school educators, where attrition rates are high among STEM teachers, within urban and/or economically disadvantaged communities in the Baltimore metropolitan area. The program aims to provide STEM education and support to new teachers and targets students during their transitional years (grades 6-12). BEST will produce more qualified and effective teachers through various professional development and research activities.† These teachers will then be better able to motivate and inspire middle and high school students in STEM studies, thereby creating a pipeline of future STEM educators and professionals. The program targets diverse cultural and economic classroom settings and aims to reach underrepresented groups.

With a track record in teacher professional development and outreach, TU will utilize its connections with Baltimore City and surrounding county schools to recruit teachers and gain access to classrooms. Following the recent UMBI restructuring, TU will acquire UMBIís Education and Outreach program, creating the TU Center for STEM Excellence. UMBIís SciTech Student Lab and the†Maryland Loaner Lab (MDLL) programs will offer participants access to scientific labs and research materials. Coppin, working in collaboration with TU, will begin implementation of its BEST program in January 2010.

The BEST project team includes Associate Provost Katherine Denniston; David Vanko, acting dean of the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics; and Rommel Miranda, program evaluator and assistant professor in the†Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences. For more information about the BEST project, please contact Dr. Katherine Denniston at kdenniston@towson.edu.

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E-mail: ospr@towson.edu

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