Center to Bolster Math-Science Education in Region

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Columbus State University’s new Math and Science Learning Center will bolster efforts to create a niche for CSU in improving how math and science are taught, organizers say.

CSU trustee Otis Burnham and CSU Math Chair Tim Howard at center opening Oct. 24.The center, which opened Oct. 24 on the second floor of University Hall, will be a unique campus destination in the region, featuring:

• Tutoring for CSU students in introductory math and science classes, and for specialized classes designed to prepare future K-8 teachers.

• Space for research focused on how math and science are learned.

• Professional development activities for teachers already in the classroom who want to learn more about using model lab demonstrations, current technology and hands-on techniques to better teach math and science.

• A library of teaching and scholarship resources.

A response to insufficient numbers of math and science majors in Georgia and nationwide, the center represents one component of a $400,000-plus granted-funded initiative at CSU to recruit, retain and graduate students in science, technology, engineering and math education fields.

The grand opening featured remarks by state Sen. Seth Harp, R-Midland, College of Science Dean Glenn Stokes, College of Education Dean David Rock, CSU President Tim Mescon and student Rod Hardy, president of the Math Education Student Association.

Rock, a former math teacher, noted just 93 chemistry majors and 243 math majors graduated from the University System of Georgia last year. He said the center stands to “dramatically impact the community in meeting its education needs, while helping CSU students overcome math and science anxiety.”

Moreover, he said “literacy” in math and science is as important as language literacy for students, who must compete in an increasingly global and technology-driven job market.

Harp, who was introduced by Mescon as a leader in “connecting state resources to education,” echoed Rock.

Harp, chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, said the current atmosphere reminds him of his high school years in the immediate aftermath of the 1957 Soviet Sputnik space mission that spurred the U.S.-Soviet space race and a call to improve science education nationwide.

Harp said he was inspired by his chemistry teacher, who “made chemistry fascinating and inspired him and his classmates to pursue and succeed in a range of challenging careers.” He said CSU, with its new center, now stands to similarly inspire a new generation of students.

For more information about the Math and Science Learning Center, contact the center’s director, Kimberly Shaw, at 706-507-8460.