September 08, 2022

A CAS-GSEC Partnership Receives $105,000 for STEM Teacher Development

The NSF funding will provide professional development in conservation-centered data science pedagogy for 6th-12th grade STEM teachers in Portland, Oregon and CAS undergraduates interested in STEM teaching careers.

  • Professors Greta Binford (L) and Liza Finkel (R)

A unique collaboration between Lewis & Clark College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) professor of biology Greta Binford and Graduate School of Education and Counseling (GSEC) professor of education Liza Finkel has garnered $105,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide professional development in conservation-centered data science pedagogy for 6th-12th grade STEM teachers in Portland, Oregon and CAS undergraduates interested in STEM teaching careers.

“I am very excited about the opportunities this funding provides for Lewis & Clark faculty to work with Portland-area 6th-12th grade science teachers and CAS students interested in becoming teachers,” says Finkel. “The grant gives us the chance to help teachers develop new, place-based, data-driven science curriculum and to support and encourage CAS STEM majors to pursue careers as science teachers.”

The project team plans to recruit science teachers and CAS undergraduate students who will work together in a yearlong professional development experience. Planned activities include a weeklong workshop in summer ’23, which will help 6-12 teachers and undergraduates build professional data science pedagogy and skills and support collaborative development of teaching materials appropriate for middle and high school students. In the 2023-24 school year, participating teachers will work with their undergraduate student partners to develop data science teaching materials and apply them in the classroom, and then reconvene in a summer ’24 workshop to share experiences, revise and update curriculum, and publicly share the curricular materials.

“We are excited that the NSF Data Science Corps has funded us to experiment with innovative ways to get students excited about investing in their own data science skills,” says Binford. “This supplement leverages our combined strengths in CAS and the Graduate School in ways that will impact our L&C undergraduates, Portland STEM teachers, and their students in 6th-12th education. I love working with the community at the Graduate School and this is an opportunity to support new channels of connection around our momentum in data science.”

The additional funding comes less than a year into Binford’s current NSF-funded project, “Collaborative Research: HDR DSC: Building Capacity in Data Science through Biodiversity, Conservation, and General Education” and will continue in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Arizona.

Lewis & Clark’s Sponsored Projects and Research Compliance Office assisted Binford and Finkel’s efforts in obtaining the grant and offer their enthusiastic congratulations to the team, adding that “this additional National Science Foundation funding will enhance meaningful collaborations between CAS and GSEC, strengthen the STEM teaching pipeline, and improve data science education in middle schools, high schools, and the College of Arts & Sciences.”

Lewis & Clark also offers a partnership—Teacher Pathways—between CAS and GSEC that is designed to support students in becoming teachers, enabling them to earn their BA + Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in just 5 years.