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ACU faculty members receive grant to help improve education in Texas by training K-12 teachers

June 14, 2006

Five faculty members at Abilene Christian University were selected this year as project directors for the Teacher Quality program, a federally funded effort that provides grants to universities and nonprofit organizations to improve teaching quality in schools across Texas.

This training is often given to teachers in rural areas of Texas that don't have much interaction with other math and science scholars, and this effort has reached more than 200 teachers in more than half of the 43 districts in ACU's region.

ACU faculty members will be in charge of three grant proposal groups, two science and one math: Dr. Connie Yarema, associate professor of mathematics; Dr. David Hendricks, chair of the Department of Math and Computer Science; Dr. Lloyd Goldsmith, assistant professor of education; Dr. Donnie Snider, associate professor of education; and Dr. Kim Pamplin, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

"Thousands of students have benefited from these ACU programs," said Pamplin, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and project director for a Teacher Quality grant. "And teachers return to their classrooms with more content knowledge in their field, more abilities to apply technology in their classrooms and more enthusiasm for their courses."

The two science grants began last week, while the mathematics grant begins this week.

Each grant includes a three-week summer workshop for about 20 teachers, plus several follow-up sessions during the school year. A stipend and many teaching resources are given to participants, some grants including laptop computers, digital projectors and calculators, Pamplin said.

As teachers have to travel back and forth for these workshops, their travel expenses and childcare are taken care of.

"The experience has been invaluable for several of ACU's pre-service teachers who get to hear advice from and make contacts with other teachers in their future field," Pamplin said. "Sometimes these contacts are helpful in finding employment."

Dr. Perry Reeves, professor of chemistry, was the first ACU faculty members to participate in the Teacher Quality program in 1980, and since this first grant, the university has received 17 Teacher Quality grants from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

At least 18 current and former ACU faculty members have been involved in these projects, Pamplin said.

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