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College Readiness

Eastern Kentucky University Mathematics Transitions Initiative Eastern Kentucky University Project Description: The EKU Mathematics Transitions Initiative was developed by a team of Mathematics Education faculty in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. For the past three years, this team has assisted regional school districts across Kentucky by working with mathematics teachers to help prepare their students to be high school and college ready. They have also worked with the high school mathematics teachers to design and implement ‘transition to college’ math courses. Under the new arrangement, the transition courses, taught by teachers at the partnering schools, is based on the curricula and tests of the MAT 090, 095 and 098 developmental mathematics courses (no academic credit) at EKU. Students that pass the transition course and make a passing grade on the KYOTE, a Council on Postsecondary Education standardized test, will be recommended (if reading and writing scores are acceptable) to take Math 105 [Liberal Arts Math] or MAT 107 [College Algebra] upon admission to EKU. Read more >>

WISE GEMS: Women In Science Empowering Girls Engaged in Math and Science University of West Alabama Project Description: Women In Sciences Empowering Girls Engaged in Mathematics and Sciences (WISE GEMS) is an organization led by female faculty members in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM), conceived and initiated by Dr. Venkat Sharma, Dean of the College. This project recruits undergraduate NSM student volunteers to give presentations and conduct hands-on learning activities about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) topics at local K-12 schools. The project goals are: 1) to engage local girls and boys in STEM activities; 2) to prompt UWA students and faculty to get involved in the local community; and 3) for NSM students to learn how to teach fundamental STEM concepts.Obstacle Addressed: Rural west Alabama's Sumter County schools are characterized by a high percentage of students on the free lunch program, low expenditure per student, and low test scores. What's more, 98% of students attending schools in the UWA service area are predominantly minority living below the poverty level. The majority of these students progressing to higher education is often first generation college students and is frequently unprepared academically and socially. The myriad of tasks and course work quickly become a huge obstacle to higher education. The major problem for our area is twofold: low numbers of minority students – especially females – entering STEM professions and inadequate STEM preparation provided to elementary and secondary students in our area. These two problems, shared by much of the nation, are not independent of each other. By providing activities that motivate young learners to embrace science and mathematics from an early age, students will be more likely to pursue higher education and careers in these areas. To encourage UWA students majoring in STEM subjects to graduate and enter STEM careers, WISE GEMS recruits undergraduate NSM student leaders to give presentations and conduct hands-on participatory activities on STEM topics at local schools. The students effectively teach and learn from each other.Theory of Action: WISE GEMS bases its outreach activities on the theory of early intervention. By offering hands-on and discovery enrichment activities to children of young age, their fears and resistance of science and mathematics become less problematic for student and teacher. Simultaneously, putting college students in environments that strengthen their teaching experiences helps them understand more effective ways of approaching learners while giving them a sense of security in their own knowledge.History of Development: The WISE GEMS project began when Dr. Venkat Sharma, Dean of Natural Science and Mathematics, became dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in the Fall of 2009. He discussed with the female faculty members of NSM his aim of getting more girls interested in science and mathematics. The idea of organizing WISE GEMS was born merging the concept of teaching experience for UWA science and mathematics majors with the need to inspire elementary and middle school students at an early age. Dr. Heather McDonald was appointed chair of the group and submitted a Service Learning grant to UWA that would become the first source of funding for the project, receiving $1,000 for outreach activities and support. All funding for WISE GEMS has been through grant support.  Read more >>