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Bridging Scientific Expertise with K-12 Education

By Andrea Stafford for TCU’s College of Science & Engineering newsletter

At TCU, science and education reside in different colleges, yet a unique connection allows the two units to work together and to complement one other. The Andrews Institute of Mathematics & Science Education provides competitive grant funding for science and engineering faculty in an effort to bridge the gap between science, mathematics and science education in K-12 classrooms. Now in its 10th year, this opportunity provides College of Science & Engineering (CSE) faculty with opportunities to fund their scientific research, and in turn involve K-12 students and educators in the process to strengthen science education.

The mission of the Andrews Institute, which is housed within the TCU College of Education, is to provide an environment for innovation and change in mathematics and science education through creative research and teaching by faculty and students at TCU. The institute originally began in 1999 under the name, Institute of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education. In 2007, a gift provided by Paul and Judy Andrews allowed the Andrews Institute to expand outreach and research programs.

“From the start, the vision for the institute was to create a way for mathematicians, scientists and educators to come together and do joint research,” said Molly Weinburgh, William L. & Betty F. Adams Chair of Education and director of the Andrews Institute.

To date, 20 CSE faculty members have received funding from the Andrews Institute. In fact, some have applied and received the competitive funding opportunity for several consecutive years. Weinburgh says many faculty in the CSE conduct outreach programs with local schools – sometimes even working with museums and hospitals. A few of these programs arrange for K-12 children to visit TCU to learn or conduct research alongside faculty members and graduate students such as the Research Apprentices Program in the TCU Department of Physics & Astronomy.

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