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UM-Dearborn Media Release

CONTACT: Jennifer Sroka
PHONE: (313) 593-5644
DATE: July 23, 2002

New master's degree program in science education to be offered at UM-Dearborn

DEARBORN--A new master of science degree in science education at the University of Michigan-Dearborn's School of Education will provide elementary teachers with experience in teaching science while simultaneously showing them how to meet state requirements in reading.

The degree program was approved by the U-M Regents at their July meeting.
"Teachers can feel pressured trying to fit in all the state-mandated requirements they need to be teaching," according to Charlotte Otto, professor of chemistry and associate provost at UM-Dearborn. "We wanted to ease that pressure by showing them ways to do two at one time."

Reading specialists in the School of Education will assist with the creation of the reading/science course for the degree program, which will begin this fall, according to Otto.

"Basically, the idea behind the course will be to help teachers teach both reading and science at the same time. Teachers could teach the processes of reading while covering the content of science," Otto said. "Reading is so, so critical, but sometimes science might be put off and taught at the end of the day. We need to make science an integral piece of what the teachers are doing. If both subjects are taught at the same time, science can be taught earlier and more frequently."

In addition to courses on elementary science education for current teachers, the new degree program will aid secondary teachers by tapping into courses used by the university's master of science in environmental education degree program.
The new degree program will emphasize either the environmental aspects of biology, chemistry or geology, or provide a more broadly focused approach, including courses from each science discipline.

"Students will have a deeper experience and learn concepts, experiments and knowledge they can incorporate into their current high school science classes," said Otto.

Courses for the new degree program will be primarily offered during the late afternoon and evening to accommodate students working full time.

Otto and a team of UM-Dearborn faculty from the Natural Science Department and the School of Education worked with Tim Falls, an adjunct lecturer at UM-Dearborn who also works in the Novi Public Schools, to create the program.

The UM-Dearborn science education team involved are: Christopher Burke, assistant professor of science education, John Devlin, associate professor of physics, Gail Luera, assistant professor of science education, Richard Moyer, professor of science education, Judy Nesmith, lecturer in natural sciences, Paul Zitzewitz, professor of physics, and Otto.

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