June 8, 2010
WVU Parkersburg awarded $149,940 National Science Foundation grant
CONTACT: Dr. Rhonda Richards, senior vice president, academic affairs, 304-424-8242.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
West Virginia University at Parkersburg is the recipient of a $149,940 National Science Foundation grant to infuse general education into the college’s technical programs.
IGNITE: “Infusing Gen-Ed Into Technical Education” – is designed to serve as the first organized effort within the state’s Community and Technical College System to infuse general education competencies into a variety of technical programs.
“Community colleges must be willing to face the changing nature of the students who enroll in their technical programs,” noted Dr. Rhonda Richards, senior vice president for academic affairs at WVU Parkersburg.
The project is expected to transform the approach by WVU Parkersburg – and eventually all state community colleges -- in delivering technical programs.
IGNITE is based on patterns WVU Parkersburg academic officials noted in which students most frequently dropped out of technical programs when general education core coursework was introduced early in their programs.
“Frequently, students never made it to the technical courses in their programs of study because they simply could not get through the general education requirements of a mathematics course,”
The two-year project will pursue the infusion of targeted general education competencies combined with hands-on technical training so students become engaged and experience success early in the technical content of their chosen area of study.
“Infusion will allow students to meet degree requirements in a manner that is more timely and relevant to their needs without sacrificing the important aspects represented by courses associated with a general education core,” Dr. Richards said.
Also, infusion of general education skills and objectives into technical programs will better meet the needs of students, the community, and industry, she added.
Dr. Richards noted that WVU Parkersburg began a pilot program in fall 2008. A core group of the college’s interdisciplinary faculty from mathematics, technology, humanities, social sciences, education, and health sciences began the research and review necessary to pursue the infusion project. As a result of their study, the recommendation was to begin with the college’s Associate in Applied Science degree in Welding Skills Technology as the “pilot” for the project.
Because mathematics skill sets are essential for developing welding competencies, the NSF project will focus on infusing the general education mathematics curriculum into welding skills courses, Dr. Richards explained.
A faculty team will develop methods for infusing math competencies that are naturally embedded in the welding content. Approaches to be considered as part of the infusion process will include teaching modules which offer interdisciplinary teaching opportunities for welding and mathematics; individualized instruction; traditional classroom units, electronic modules; team teaching; computerized instruction units, podcasts and other delivery methods.
Sierra (Rocklin, Calif.) College is serving as a partner in the WVU Parkersburg-led project.
cd06/8/10For additional information, contact:
Executive Director Institutional Advancement
(304-424-8203 - Office)