KSU receives about $380,000 for state teacher quality plan

Tim Magaw

Three programs at Kent State received about $380,000 in combined funds from the Ohio Board of Regents. The approved funding was part of $2.8 million in funding for Improving Teacher Quality Program projects around the state.

Russell Utgard, project director for Improving Teacher Quality, said the funding will support Ohio’s need for higher quality math and science teachers.

“The expectation is this will result in improving student achievement,” he said. “The students of these teachers are the ones benefited most.”

The three programs to receive funding are Conceptual Chemistry for Teachers of Grades 4-9, the Akron Mathematics Academy Grades 3-8 Teachers in Investigative Mathematics and Operation Physics for Middle School Teachers. Of the 22 statewide programs, Kent State’s programs received the second highest amount of funding. Miami University’s programs received the most funding, with an amount exceeding $800,000.

Claudia Khourey-Bowers, co-principal investigator of the Conceptual Chemistry for Teachers of Grades 4-9 program, said funds are given on a year-to-year basis for about the last twenty years. This is her third year with the program.

“Teachers are often hired to teach outside of their area of expertise,” she said, adding that many teachers don’t have adequate background in science areas.

Khourey-Bowers said these Improving Teaching Quality programs help bring a sense of community to teachers.

“It brings together teachers who are meeting similar kinds of challenges,” she said.

Utgard said studies show that the United States trails other countries in the quality of its science and math teachers. To push for higher-quality educators, the federal government is pushing funding through the U.S. Department of Education. Monetary awards are based on the number of children in the state and geared toward those in higher poverty levels.

Neighboring universities such as the University of Akron and Cleveland State University also received funds. The University of Akron’s Akron Global Polymer Academy Science Partnership received $66,634, and Cleveland State University received a combined amount of about $281,000 for its Physical Science by Inquiry, Urban Stream Scholars and Making the Nature of Scientific Inquiry Explicit Components of the K-3 Classroom programs.

Contact administration reporter Tim Magaw at [email protected].