University receives $327,000 grant for STEM teacher education

January 22, 2015

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville will be awarded a $327,000 University of Wisconsin System grant, under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Title IIA, Wisconsin Improving Teacher Quality program, for support of a three-year, professional development project for STEM teacher education.

The grant will officially begin March 1 and extend through July 2017. A portion of the grant amount, $149,000, will be awarded in the first months of the grant and the rest will be awarded in the next two years, following assurance that grant goals are being met.

The project, “Intelligent Integration of STEM Components to Build Educator Effectiveness and Student Proficiency,” is under the direction of project directors Dr. Tim Deis, mathematics professor, and Dr. Jodean Grunow, senior lecturer, mathematics, UW-Platteville; and project advisors, Dr. Karen Stinson, director of the School of Education and Dr. Barb Barnet, mathematics department chair and professor of statistics at UW-Platteville.

The grant will provide professional development in science, technology, engineering and mathematics for 30-50 teachers. Three partner Local Educational Authorities have signed on to the project: Fennimore, Black Hawk and Highland. The development opportunity will also be open to other LEAs, depending on availability. Admission for the project is by application. School teams, including administrators, are encouraged to apply. In keeping with current national and state initiatives and UW-Platteville’s STEM initiative, applications will be accepted from the various STEM disciplines and there will be an emphasis on connecting university efforts to school district needs.

“This grant will allow UW-Platteville to mesh its STEM initiative with national and state efforts,” said Grunow. She noted that on Sept. 16, 2010, President Barack Obama issued a challenge regarding a STEM initiative and “set a priority of increasing the number of students who are proficient in these vital fields.”

"Schools must recognize the STEM foundation and 21st century skills required in every career and build those experiences and knowledge throughout students’ learning." 

Grunow said that in Wisconsin, employers are calling for an educated workforce in math and science and State Superintendent Tony Evers stated, “STEM education must go beyond coursework in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Schools must recognize the STEM foundation and 21st century skills required in every career and build those experiences and knowledge throughout students’ learning. One huge benefit of STEM education is that it drives learning beyond basic levels of knowledge and comprehension, encouraging students to apply knowledge and skills as they benefit the community around them.”

Participants will access three summer seminars where they will address current felt needs and mandates and be encouraged to work with concerns unique to their classrooms, schools and teams. During the course of summer institutes, they will design action plans that they will pursue upon return to their classrooms.

Additionally, participants will work with experts in the various educational fields and collaborate with colleagues and staff from neighboring schools. They will benefit from mentoring support provided by university staff, both online and in their schools. Participants will receive three credits per summer institutes and one credit per semester for the school year. Over the course of the three years, they will receive 15 credits. The graduate credits are applicable as elective credits for a Master of Science degree from UW-Platteville.

The project was recommended for funding by a “broadly based team of reviewers representing Wisconsin’s K-12 schools, University of Wisconsin System institutions, private higher education institutions, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and Wisconsin businesses.” The award letter stated, “Your institution and the project personnel are to be commended for success in this competitive process.”

Deis and Grunow said they are grateful they will be able to contribute to continued professional development efforts for Southwest Wisconsin, stating, “This grant follows several preceding grants that have helped area participants address current needs, collaboration opportunities and support for personal and district needs and goals. We are so pleased to continue with these worthy efforts.”

Additional information regarding the grant can be obtained from Grunow at grunowj@uwplatt.edu and/or Deis at deist@uwplatt.edu. Applications will be sent via email upon request.

As UW-Platteville pursues its vision of being recognized as the leading student-focused university for its success in achieving excellence, creating opportunities and empowering each individual, it is guided by four strategic planning priorities. The grant project aligns with four of the priorities, including providing an outstanding education, fostering a community of achievement and respect, enriching the tri-state region and controlling our own destiny. 

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu

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UIC: Strategic Plan in Action

Strategic Plan in Action

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Strategic Plan is centered around the following priorities:

  • Provide an outstanding education
  • Foster a community of achievement and respect
  • Control our own destiny
  • Enrich the tri-state region

Read more about how the university is executing this plan, as well as find examples of its success on the strategic plan website.

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