IDEA fosters collaboration in math, science education

As educators examine ways to renew math and science education in America, a joint venture between LSA and the School of Education (SoE) promotes collaborations between faculty and students from science, math and education to improve teaching methods.

The Instructional Development and Educational Assessment (IDEA) Institute will be dedicated by Provost Teresa Sullivan, LSA Dean Terrence McDonald and SoE Dean Deborah Ball at 4 p.m. Oct. 14 in the Undergraduate Science Building Auditorium.

The dedication is part of a public symposium scheduled from 1-6 p.m., featuring experts in science, mathematics and education from around the country. Scheduled speakers include Valerie Otero, associate professor of science education at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Tony Petrosino, associate professor of mathematics and science education at the University of Texas at Austin.

The institute will encourage and support collaborations between LSA and SoE faculty members, says Brian Coppola, a professor of chemistry who has been appointed co-director of the institute with Joe Krajcik, professor of science education, SoE. IDEA also aims to engage students considering careers in education to help improve teaching and learning in science and mathematics from middle school to graduate school.

"In many disciplines faculty members are already accustomed to directing research groups made up of students from all educational levels as a way to accomplish their research objectives," Coppola says. "IDEA asks a single question: Can this also work for teaching objectives?"

The institute is funded by a $1.25 million gift over five years from alumni Robert Horwitz and Catherine Redlich. They also have given $300,000 to support the Redlich-Horwitz Community Scholars in LSA's Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and $30,000 for a teaching award in the Department of Chemistry.

The gifts are part of LSA's fund-raising effort for the $2.5 billion The Michigan Difference Campaign.

For more information about the institute or the symposium call (734) 615-6653.