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Lloyd Leads Program for Community College Faculty

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Lloyd Leads Program for Community College Faculty

Department of Materials Science and Engineering associate professor Isabel Lloyd will lead a new three-year summer program for regional community college faculty designed to increase the success of students with associate degrees who transfer into the Clark School's engineering programs.

The Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program, "Connecting with Community Colleges," will develop strategies for implementing new curricula in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses at the 100-200 levels and strengthen institutional relationships between community colleges and the University of Maryland. The program is set to begin in summer 2011 and is funded by a $450,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

Lloyd's co-PI on the project is Clark School Director of STEM Education Dr. Leigh Abts (College of Education), who has participated in the NSF's RET program since its inception and most recently directed a RET for the Fischell Department of Bioengineering.

The program will recruit up to twelve professors each year from five community colleges: Anne Arundel, Harford, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's. Selected faculty will attend a six week, interdisciplinary summer program in which they will conduct research with Clark School faculty and discuss ways to bring the latest concepts in technological innovation into their existing courses. Additional planned activities include weekly seminars on curriculum development; lectures on ethics, safety, entrepreneurship and intellectual property, teamwork and informed discovery; and round-table discussions with Clark School faculty and staff about promoting interest in STEM majors to new undergraduates and ensuring a smooth transition for those who transfer to the university.

An academic year follow up program will include monthly online discussions about curriculum implementation, outside evaluations, and two half day workshops for participants to discuss their results and exchange course materials. In the long term, the community colleges and the Clark School will track the number and success of students transferring from participating and non-participating schools.

"This is a wonderful opportunity," says Lloyd. "RETs for community college faculties have rarely if ever been done—typically the focus is on middle and high school educators. The participating schools not only provide most of the Clark School's transfer students, but they also serve large numbers of students from underrepresented groups, including minorities, women, and economically disadvantaged students. It's a win-win situation: a larger and more diverse group of students will be engaged in STEM majors and better prepared to succeed, and the community colleges and university will retain and graduate more of them thanks to an increased awareness of their needs and better transfer experiences."

Community college faculty from participating institutions who are interested in learning more about or applying to the program should contact Professor Isabel Lloyd at illoyd@umd.edu.

December 21, 2010


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