Preparing for the Future: Innovative STEM Training for Area Teachers

Most new jobs created in the next decade will require skills in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). Yet many elementary schools aren’t fully equipped to train young people in STEM subjects and as a result, the U.S. is losing its competitive edge in math and science.

“We want to change that,” said Priscilla Nelson, associate professor/chair of education and lead strategist in Gordon’s new STEM partnership training program called STEM2. “It’s not just about training young people with these skills. STEM training prepares students for higher-level thinking, so they can tackle problems more creatively.”

To help area elementary teachers and instructional leaders in STEM education, Gordon established a year-long professional development program where teachers may earn points toward their re-licensure while gaining valuable STEM training for their classrooms. Thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Northeast Regional Readiness Center housed at Salem State University, five free workshops facilitated by STEM2 began at Gordon in October and will continue throughout the 2013-2014 school year. The program culminates in a STEM2 Summit June 4, 2014. Over 175 participants, including teachers, industry leaders and government representatives, have participated in the first two workshops.

“This is a unique partnership with policy makers, higher education, public schools and private industry,” Nelson said. “STEM2 is uniting stakeholders through support and training with emphasis on what works best in the classroom and leads to STEM industry jobs.” Continue reading

New Frontiers: Faculty Expand Their Influence

Gordon has long recognized the impact and influence of its professors beyond the classroom and into the broader academic landscape. Recently, four professors took on new opportunities.

While on sabbatical this semester, Tim Sherratt, professor of political science, was named as a Fellow at the Center for Public Justice in Washington, D.C. His role there will be to continue writing and creating interactive content about the political values of the CPJ.  According to the CPJ announcement, “The primary project Sherratt will complete as a CPJ Fellow first will engage local congregations—particularly those who say they don’t have a reason to have a Christian perspective on politics—to generate questions.”

Though she’s also on sabbatical, Janis Flint-Ferguson, professor of Education and English, has been invited to speak at the national convention for the National Council of Teachers of English on Nov. 23. Building on the conference theme of “Re-inventing the Future of English,” Flint-Ferguson‘s talk address the integration of ELA and history using genres to teach reading and writing in middle school.

Patricia Anders, part-time instructor in the Department of English Language and Literature, is now an associate editor at Hendrickson Publishers. One of her roles will be acquiring new titles for the Hendrickson list, and she hopes to guide faculty with appropriate book proposal. (A Gordon alumna who works at Hendrickson Publishers wrote the press release on Anders’ new role.)

John Sarrouf, adjunct professor of Peace and Conflict Studies as well as communication arts, directs The Family Dinner Project for The Public Conversations Project, a local non profit grassroots movement of food, fun and conversation. He was recently invited to pen the organization’s most recent family blog post, “Don’t Yuck on my Yam: A Mantra for the Table and Beyond.”

Writing the Personal and the Profound

For most professors, writing and publishing in their disciplines is a regular extension of their scholarship. But when writing becomes personal—and passionate—it has a different impact on both the audience and the scholar. Recently, three Gordon professors saw such pieces published.

In the current issue of Commonweal Magazine, Agnes Howard, associate professor of English and history, explores the difficult but crucial topic of coping with miscarriage. Her article, “Comforting Rachel: How Christians Should Respond to Prenatal Death” provides an insightful guide on the profound emotions around losing a baby as well as a context for Christian communities.

Denise Frame Harlan, adjunct professor of English, takes on the many challenges of the writing life itself, from health and relational disruptions to how aging and physical space affect the very act of putting words to paper. Her essay entitled, The Swing,” appears in Ruminate Magazine.

And as a favor to an administrator, Dorothy Boorse, professor of biology, had the difficult task of watching and reviewing a DVD series that addressed her passions: evangelical faith, science and truth. It wasn’t an easy writing project, given the contentious and often tense perspectives from within the various groups. This month, BioLogos posted her essays Science and The Truth Project, part one and two” on its web site.