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Published: Friday, 9/17/2004

$6 million grant to UT from U.S. is largest ever

BY KIM BATES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The University of Toledo has received its largest grant in history - $6 million in federal money - which educators plan to use to improve recruitment and training for teachers in mathematics and science.

The U.S. Department of Education grant, which will be disbursed to the university over a five-year period, was announced yesterday by U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), who stood inside the science cafe at COSI Toledo as she shared the news.

"As we announce this $6 million today, it's to make sure all students are successful," Miss Kaptur said.

The university was awarded the money after a team of UT educators pooled their efforts and crafted the proposal.

Known as the local UT3 initiative, the grant will allow for a collaborative effort between the university and Toledo public and parochial schools, with a shared focus on improving the quality of secondary classroom instruction in mathematics and science.

UT President Dan Johnson pointed to a statewide shortage of mathematics and science teachers in urban areas like Toledo, something he said the new effort can help change.

"The effort will be data-driven. There will be action teams," he said.

As part of the initiative, the university also will work with COSI and the Toledo Zoo to provide training opportunities for both current and future teachers.

Charlene Czerniak, a UT education professor who led the effort to seek the grant, said the new effort will be more involved than the five-year training initiative in science that UT and its partner, Bowling Green State University, tackled beginning in 1998 with a $5.1 million grant.

UT3, specifically, will make use of the Ohio Supercomputer network, which will allow for leaders to have high-speed video conferencing capabilities.

The grant also will allow for teachers in K-12, not just the elementary grades, to be in touch and involved with students at UT.

New teaching materials in mathematics and science will be provided to the schools. A mentoring program, in which high school students will be used to assist younger students in learning mathematics and science, is planned, according to Rebecca Schneider, a professor in the UT education department.

Ms. Schneider said an ultimate goal is to inspire younger students to consider careers in the two fields.

Ms. Czerniak said it will take several months to start the initiative, and several years more before university officials can begin seeing its results.

Contact Kim Bates at:

kimbates@theblade.com

or 419-724-6074.



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