Member InstitutionMember Institution University of Michigan-Dearborn

University of Michigan-Dearborn

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University of Michigan-Dearborn Website

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Jim Hetrick

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The Department includes faculty members in biology, chemistry, geology, and physics, and offers the following degree programs: B.S. in biology, chemistry (ACS approved), chemistry/instruction, physics, microbiology, earth science, and environmental science; B.A. in environmental studies; M.S. in environmental science. It participates in the School of Education's M.S. in Science Education.

The Department has a long history of joint involvement with faculty members of the School of Education with teacher education reform. The University's team in the teacher education strand of the Michigan State Systemic Initiative comprised faculty members in the sciences, mathematics, and education.

Since 1999 a team consisting of faculty members in biology, chemistry, physics, and science education have been working as a team to develop and offer courses in science and science education required of all students majoring in elementary education in the School of Education. The team developed and, beginning in Fall 2000, taught three inquiry-based courses in the life, earth, and physical sciences. The three courses are taught in sections of 24 students and each serve approximately 120 students per year.

The team wrote and obtained funding for two Eisenhower higher-education grants to export these courses to the local community colleges that supply almost half our future elementary teachers. It wrote a successful FIPSE grant to help develop an innovative capstone course required of all future elementary teachers that integrates a "big idea" across the sciences and gives the students experience in conducting action research. This course also serves approximately 120 students per year.

The team also developed a M.S. in Science Education degree proposal, saw it through the college, campus, university, and state committees, and is offering the development of the courses that are a part of the program. Three content-area courses have been developed (physical, life, and earth/space science). Each is offered on an alternate-year basis to approximately 12 students. The earth/space science course is offered in an intensive two-week summer program.

The team has also developed a web-based science education portfolio that is built by each student from portfolio assignments completed in each course. It has held training sessions for use of the RTOP in assessing teaching.