by Gerri Marroquin

Once or twice, we all were given this fun assignment in science class: the egg drop challenge. We had to keep the egg from breaking when it was thrown from ceiling-height by creating the right amount of security around it. To get it just right, we had to calculate the speed from the ceiling to the floor, engineer the perfect vessel with the right amount of padding, and think of different technologies and devices to slow it down.

Portrait of Dr. Gordon in a green, wooded areaWho would have known that after so many broken eggs we were participating in the future of learning?

The University of West Georgia works hard to ensure the learning doesn’t stop. Dr. Scott Gordon, professor of mathematics and former interim dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, has received a $130,444 grant from the University System of Georgia Board of Regents to implement a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education (STEM) Improvement Plan.

“I am very pleased that the USG has recognized our ability to make advances in preparing students for STEM fields,” Gordon said. “This has been a team effort, and I am proud of the work that is being done by my colleagues in the College of Science and Mathematics to secure this grant and see that it is successful.”

UWG’s STEM Education Improvement Plan will be a multi-faceted plan seeking to improve performance in STEM courses. STEM takes on an interdisciplinary approach to learning, teaching the four disciplines as one. Within this curriculum, students can make connections between the subjects and learn the material in context to the topic they are studying.

“The STEM Improvement Plan will benefit the university and students in that we will retain and graduate more majors in the STEM fields and see that they are better prepared for their chosen careers,” Gordon said.

This plan will look to develop year-long cohorts for incoming freshmen in STEM courses, use a variety of interventions to improve performance in core mathematics and support science and mathematics faculty in using evidence-based teachings in their classes. It will also implement an undergraduate program research and mentoring program, along with a tutoring program, to improve student engagement within their STEM major.

The USG Board of Regents’ grant is the second to be awarded to UWG to support the STEM initiative. The University of West Georgia Institutional STEM Excellence (UWise) Program was the first to have a grant awarded, and the new STEM Education Improvement Plan will build on UWise’s success.

Posted on August 29, 2016