CSU to Host Statewide Gathering of Math-Science Professors

COLUMBUS, Ga. - Between 80 and 100 professors from 14 colleges and universities in Georgia will gather at Columbus State University Friday and Saturday, Dec. 4-5 to share ideas for improving student learning and engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Co-hosted by Columbus State and LaGrange College, the West Central Georgia Regional STEM Institute will take place at CSU’s Cunningham Center for Leadership Development and is sponsored by the University System of Georgia’s STEM Initiative and the National Science Foundation-funded program Partnership for Reform in Science and Mathematics.

The institute is designed to improve instruction in introductory science and mathematics courses by developing STEM faculty learning communities. Participants will learn about new and innovative instructional strategies and share their work related to improving student learning and engagement in their courses.

The visiting professors will participate in four themed learning communities, each led by a Columbus State faculty facilitator (noted in parentheses), while several other CSU professors serve as panelists:

Effective use of student response systems (Assistant Professor of Physics Zdeslav Hrepic) explores uses and resources for these systems, with a focus on critiquing and developing engaging questions.

Innovative instruction and assessment in online platforms (Marty Westrick, instructional designer for CSU Distance Learning Design and Delivery Services) involves the use of a variety of online platforms as supplements to classroom instruction and as tools for effective instruction in virtual courses.

Improved engagement through peer-to-peer instruction (Assistant Professor of Biology Katey Hughes) offers an overview of the impact and strategies of peer-led teaching, as well as cooperative and collaborative learning.

Adapting curriculum to problem-based learning (Assistant Professor of Teacher Education Gayle Herrington) covers how to improve student cognitive engagement by designing courses around strategically sequenced problems.

In addition to the learning community activities, participants also will hear from keynote speakers Charles Kuta, associate dean of the the University of Georgia’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; Nancy Vandergrift, program coordinator of the University of Georgia’s Office of STEM Education; and S. Raj Chaudhury, associate director of Auburn University’s Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning.

For more information on the STEM institute, call 706-507-8464 or go to http://cols.colstate.edu/steminstitute.