The N.C. A&T grant of the month for May: $500,000 for regional STEM collaborative

The Sponsored Funding Report for May:

N.C. A&T received 12 grants totaling $2.92 million in May.  The FY 2011 sponsored funding total stands at $44.97 million as of May 31.

One highlight of the month’s funding was $500,000 from the Golden LEAF Foundation to Dr. Eui Park of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

The project: North Carolina A&T State University Regional Collaborative for Excellence in STEM, a comprehensive program targeting the enhancement of STEM education and learning outcomes for middle school students in six eastern North Carolina counties: Bertie, Edgecombe, Gates, Martin Pitt, and Wilson.

The issue:  After communicating with the local school systems, we have concluded that most of their efforts in the middle schools are not STEM per se, but focused on math & science curriculum outside of the context of pathways to STEM careers. These schools appear to be at varying levels of readiness to implement a full-on integrated STEM curriculum, such as Project Lead the Way or Engineering in Education.

Abstract: We will develop the school systems’ readiness for integrated STEM curriculum through the professional development of teachers and principals. Professional development strategies will align classroom instruction and curriculum to state standards and the LEA’s Race to the Top goals. In addition, the process will create opportunities for community/parent engagement and expose communities and youth to STEM careers, making the connection between STEM and their lives. Most importantly, this project will connect middle school students with older students who can mentor and tutor in STEM subjects.

There are numerous STEM curriculum infusion programs offered by public and private entities. We are prepared to recommend a particular program to a school or learning community after working closely with the school and fully vetting programs against the local needs and assets.
Research, like that done for Lead the Way, clearly requires the buy-in of all stakeholders within the community to ensure positive outcomes.

The majority of funds will go to support LEA’s STEM curriculum development and teacher development. Implementing this program will cost the University in a time when funding is being reduced. We are committed to working with our constituents across the state of North Carolina and look forward to implementing best-practice in growing and promoting sustainable STEM education and industry.

The complete list of grants received in May (xlsx file).

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