GPC receives USG grant to enhance and coordinate STEM Education

09/07/2011
Contact: Roger Barnes
Phone: 678-891-2693
Fax: 678-891-2966   
Author: Roger Barnes   

The University System of Georgia has awarded Georgia Perimeter College a one-year Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) II initiative grant for $310,000. This grant will allow GPC to boost its STEM efforts by hiring a college-wide coordinator to oversee STEM instruction across GPC’s four campuses in Clarkston, Decatur, Dunwoody and Newton County, and GPC’s Alpharetta Center.
The coordinator will work with STEM faculty to ensure instruction is well orchestrated and complementary throughout the college and that each GPC student is receiving rigorous exposure with a relevant STEM curriculum. The coordinator also will be the point person in the collection of data related to GPC’s STEM instruction and student results.
This data will be used to gauge the success and progress of GPC’s STEM instruction as GPC students prepare to move on to four-year colleges and they will continue to be tracked as they earn bachelor’s or master’s degrees.
The data will also be used by GPC’s STEM partners in the business community.
“GPC is seeking opportunities in the business community to partner with on STEM projects,” said Heather Pharris, GPC’s development officer for Allied Health and STEM programs. “These partners will allow our students to tour facilities, meet with executives and gain exposure to the needs of industry.”
National and local interest in STEM education is spurred by reports from the National Science Foundation and other education groups, pointing to a U.S. shortage of students completing STEM-related degrees. In 2008, the Georgia Alliance of Education Agency Heads, a collaboration of seven state education agencies, found that Georgia grade schools are in need of qualified math and science teachers.
To reverse this trend, the USG grant also provides funding for further support of GPC’s Math, Engineering, Science, Achievement club. MESA is a place where STEM students gather for tutoring, workshops and organized visits to other colleges.
Special mini-grants also funded through this grant, will allow GPC faculty to introduce innovative instructional techniques and special classroom projects not currently funded through their department’s resources.
“This USG grant puts Georgia Perimeter College in the best starting position to address the challenges of a state and a nation in need of more qualified graduates with STEM-related degrees,” said GPC President Dr. Anthony S. Tricoli. “Our students already transfer from GPC to complete their bachelor’s degrees at the best institutions in Georgia and the nation. With this grant, we’ll now have a coordinator in place to focus on STEM instruction as well as communicate with our many STEM-related partnerships. This is the start of a new, focused approach that will make GPC an even stronger supplier of qualified students to four-year colleges and the business community.”

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Georgia Perimeter College, the third largest institution of the University System of Georgia, serves more than 25,000 students through four campuses and several sites in metro Atlanta. For additional information, visit www.gpc.edu.