Higher Education Grant To Benefit Community

Friday, January 25, 2013 - by Christian Downes, Lee University

Dr. Lori West and colleagues of Lee University were awarded an Improving Teacher Quality Grant through the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for a second consecutive year. The grant ensures the continuation of the community project, Mathematics in Biotechnology.

The purpose of the 2013 Improving Teacher Quality Grant Program is to conduct professional development projects for teachers that increase their knowledge and competency in the Grade 9 – 12 Common Core State Standards in Mathematics. The project is funded under an agreement with the State of Tennessee. The grant totals $73,589. 

The MIB2.0 program represents Lee’s ongoing initiative to positively impact high school science faculty and students of various schools in the southeast Tennessee region. MIB 2.0 will recruit 20 mathematics and biology teachers from Bradley, Hamilton, McMinn, Meigs, Rhea and Sevier counties and Cleveland City schools to learn techniques and lessons from university faculty that will assist them in engaging students with hands-on activities requiring them to apply mathematics principles to analyze scientific data.  

The MIB2.0 workshop will continue to consider application of probability and statistics and modeling common core standards to the analysis of data, but the focus will shift slightly to population genetics. The workshop will provide professional developmental assistance to mathematic core standards in the biology curriculum, while emphasizing comprehensive scholastic improvement.  Participating teachers will receive the necessary laboratory equipment to return to their schools and replicate the experiments with their students.

“In contrast to last year, we are recruiting with an emphasis on matching science and mathematics instructors from the same school, in an effort to foster collaboration between instructors of these two fields,” said Dr. West. “Through the grant, our goal is also to purchase equipment and software necessary for more advanced statistical analyses.” 

Many members of Lee’s faculty are returning to participate in workshop instruction. Dr. Sherry Kasper and Dr. West will be involved in the biology instruction and experimentation. Dr. Blayne Carroll and Dr. Debra Mimbs will be involved in the mathematics instruction while Dr. Eric Moyen will be involved in instruction in pedagogy. Dr. Laura Singletary will be involved with pedagogy specific to mathematics and Dr. Michael Freake will serve as a guest scientist sharing his research in population genetics. 

Dr. West is trained in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, and has taught DNA techniques for the past six years, performing graduate and post-doctoral research in DNA mutagenesis.

The grant program falls under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The Improving Teacher Quality program is the largest federal platform for professional development to improve teaching and learning. 

For more information about the Mathematics in Biotechnology program, please email lwest@leuniversity.edu.

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