Connecticut State DOHE awards $100,000 to Fairfield University's Graduate School of Education to enhance Bridgeport science teaching


The Connecticut State Department of Higher Education has awarded Fairfield University's Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions a $100,000 grant to enhance the City of Bridgeport's science teaching skills. Fairfield University Professors Aidin Amirshokoohi and Mahsa Kazempour designed the program as a transformative and immersive professional development experience in inquiry-based teaching and learning for middle and high school teachers from Bridgeport public schools and the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Dean Susan Franzosa noted, "I was delighted to learn that Professors Amirshokoohi and Kazempour received this highly competitive grant from the Connecticut State Department of Higher Education. This award is a tribute to their expertise and experience in science curriculum and instruction. The improvement of science education is a high priority in the State and it's wonderful to know that our faculty will be contributing to the effort in the Bridgeport schools."

The Teaching Quality Partnership (TQP) Program begins in earnest July 20 with two full weeks of workshops in which morning sessions will be devoted to science pedagogy with afternoons spent actively participating in projects and research with science faculty. Three follow-up workshops will be scheduled to take place during the academic year. The grant enables participating science teachers of grades 7-12 not only to benefit from the vitality of the rich teaching community expected to develop through the workshops, but in addition, each full participant will receive a stipend honoring his or her commitment and will become eligible to earn up to three graduate course credits.

"We are very enthusiastic about the opportunities this grant provides. We expect to deepen teachers' knowledge of science content standards and effective inquiry-based instruction with the ultimate goal of better educating and preparing students to become scientifically literate, socially responsible and active citizens." said Professor Amirshokoohi, the Program's coordinator.

Professor Kazempour noted, "Teachers are the agents of change and as such, are ultimately responsible for enhancing students' science experiences. Hence, these workshops will take into consideration and address teachers' beliefs, attitudes, and self-efficacy with regard to science and science teaching in an effort to enhance their instruction and student learning."

State grants totaling $863,194, were awarded to eight institutes and when announcing the intended goal of leveraging improvements in teacher knowledge to improve student and school performance, Michael Meotti, Commissioner of Higher Education for the State of Connecticut, noted, "Teachers will have an opportunity to learn from faculty experts and from each other as they create and model new classroom lesson plans and strategies." Fairfield's Professor Amirshokoohi stressed that he and his colleagues "look to these professional development workshops to provide opportunities that will allow us to share our expertise, enhance teaching techniques, build on current relationships and develop new relationships with Bridgeport and Diocese teachers."

For further information regarding the summer workshop, Professors Amirshokoohi and Kazempour can be reached at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2079 and ext. 2016 or by e-mail at aamirshokoohi@mail.fairfield.edu, mkazempour@mail.fairfield.edu.

Bookmark and Share

Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 27, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 323