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June 20, 2002

Calvin Earns Prize for Science Ed

A $10,000 prize to Calvin College for outstanding achievement in science education will benefit not just the college, but local schools as well.

This summer, for example, Calvin has four students working on various aspects of elementary-level science education. This includes students doing curriculum development for the Grand Rapids Public Schools as result of the prize, awarded to Calvin as part of the second annual Heuer Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Undergraduate Science Education (presented by the Council of Independent Colleges).

Those awards note that "science education in independent colleges and universities is a resource of major importance to the nation's future."

Calvin physics professor James Jadrich (above), who coordinates the Calvin elementary science education program, agrees.

"The key question," says Jadrich, "is how do you teach science and how do you teach someone to teach science. Those are important questions for us to ask at Calvin, where education is our biggest area of study, and those are important questions for us as a society."

CIC president Richard Ekman said the four programs selected as 2002 winners (Calvin; Bethel, MN; Drury, MO; and John Carroll, OH) demonstrate that "creativity and rigor in science program design can indeed increase student interest and success in the sciences, as well as strengthen programs in K-12 schools."

Calvin's award-winning program is directly connected to K-8 education. The school was recognized by the CIC for its elementary science education program, which includes a four-course science sequence that sees Calvin students doing hands-on science education in local schols. The 2002 Heuer Award noted that in Calvin's program "there is a particular focus on meeting the needs of schools with high minority enrollment."

And, in presenting the Heuer Award, the CIC said of Calvin that "the college itself has made substantial investments in elementary science education by providing expanded laboratory and research space for the program and by providing funds to enhance the outreach program to local schools."

The awards were selected by a panel of sciecne educators, including Hope College mathematics professor Janet Anderson.

The Council of Independent Colleges, of which Calvin is a member, is an association of more than 500 independent liberal arts colleges and universities and higher education affiliates.

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Contact Phil de Haan
616-957-6475 (v)
616-957-7069 (f)