National Science Foundation Award
Sep 29, 2010
The National Science Foundation has awarded Concordia College nearly $500,000 to help increase the number of science, technology and mathematics students the college graduates. The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (STEP) grant, will allow the college to implement new student-focused pedagogies and research opportunities for first-year students.
Dr. Heidi Manning, chair of the division for Sciences and Mathematics, says the college will focus efforts on enhancing the educational experience through a change in pedagogy for first-year biology and physics courses. Introductory biology will use more case-based learning, while the introductory physics courses will combine lecture and lab learning during the same course period.
The grant funds new research opportunities for first-year students. During the five-year grant period, 40 students will participate in summer research projects between their first and second years. Grant funding will also create a new course exposing science and mathematics students to the variety of careers available with these majors
“This is an opportunity to make science more accessible and interesting to students through hands-on learning,” Manning says. The new grant comes just a year after the college received a nearly $600,000 NSF S-STEM grant to provide scholarships and other support for promising science, technology, engineering and mathematics students who have financial need.
"Concordia combines inquiry-based classrooms and labs with comprehensive undergraduate research opportunities,” Provost Mark Krejci says. “The NSF grant is a recognition of this strong undergraduate science program."
The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science. With an annual budget of about $6.9 billion (FY 2010), NSF is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities.