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Peckham Hall Now Open

28 Sep

It’s official! Peckham Hall, home of the Integrated Center for Math and Science, is now open.

To learn more about the facility and Nazareth’s math and science academic programs, please visit naz.edu/icms.

And for a Flickr gallery of the day’s events, click here.

Astronomer George V. Coyne, S.J., to Present as Part of Shannon Lecture Series

12 Sep

George V. Coyne, S.J.

Astronomer George V. Coyne, S.J., will begin the 2012-2013 Shannon Lecture Series with “The Dance of the Fertile Universe: Chance and Destiny Embrace” on Thursday, September 13 at 7 p.m. in the Otto A. Shults Community Center Forum.

Coyne will present a second lecture, “Scientific Evolution: A Challenge to American Society,” on Friday, September 14 at 1:30 p.m. in the Linehan Chapel of the Golisano Academic Center. Both the Academic Center and the Shults Community Center are on the Nazareth College campus, located at 4245 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14618. Both lectures are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Christine M. Bochen at 585-389-2728 or cbochen4@naz.edu.

This year’s program, Integrating Faith and Science: Dilemmas, Debates, and Decisions, celebrates the opening of the Integrated Center for Math and Science in Peckham Hall, where Nazareth students and faculty plumb the secrets of the natural world, and, in a special way, honors the memory of our beloved William H. Shannon, who died on April 29, 2012. Fr. Shannon was instrumental in promoting conversation on science and morality at the college and in the community.  Our distinguished speakers—all well versed in both science and religion, particularly the Catholic tradition—will help us continue the conversation.

Respecting “the richness of both religious faith and scientific research,” astronomer George V. Coyne, S.J., is a participant in and promoter of the dialogue between science and religion. An outspoken critic of creationism and intelligent design, he explores the implications that scientific evolution has for religion.

To learn more about Coyne, Shannon, and the lecture series in general, please click here.

Less Than Three Weeks Until the Grand Opening Celebration

10 Sep

Let’s Celebrate!

Please join us on Thursday, September 27, 2012, as we gather to celebrate the grand opening of Peckham Hall, home of the Integrated Center for Math and Science.

Schedule

4 p.m. Ribbon Cutting
Welcome, special remarks, and ribbon cutting.

4:45 p.m. Celebration Reception
Wine and appetizer reception with the opportunity to explore the new building on your own or with a guided faculty-student led tour. Experience the state-of-the-art labs and classrooms and learn about the new programs and student opportunities that will happen in the building.

RSVP requested by Wednesday, September 19 to Stacey Stehle at 585-389-2409 or mstehle6@naz.edu.

From The Atlantic: A Microscope With a View

23 Jul

Every year, the Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition brings together “the most extraordinary microscope images of life science subjects from around the world.” With the blessing of the competition’s sponsors, The Atlantic  has compiled some of the top images, “displaying a compelling mix of art and science.”

Honorable mention: Detail of a pod of the flowering legume Scorpius muricatus (common name “Prickly Caterpillar”), by Viktor Sýkora, from Hyskov, Czech Republic. (Olympus BioScapes)

Click here to see more of the stunning top submissions.

As these pictures demonstrate, art and science are not mutually exclusive. And the benefits of an education and worldview that combine both cannot be understated.

The creativity of people educated in the liberal arts and sciences is a hallmark of a Nazareth College education. In Nazareth’s core curriculum, the arts and the sciences combine and overlap to help students identify “enduring” questions–those which pervade human lives and relationships across cultures. “As effective critical thinkers and skilled problem-solvers,” explains Deb Dooley ’75, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, “our graduates have not only the content knowledge of their discipline, but also the cognitive ability to analyze and synthesize information in new ways. They learn to become creators of knowledge, not merely imitators of what others know.”

From Elearning! Magazine and Slate: More science needed

7 Jun

Ask a school-age child today what he or she wants to be when they grow up. Unfortunately, the answer is probably not a scientist or engineer.

There just aren’t enough young people sticking with the hard sciences, according to Leland Melvin, former astronaut and associate administrator for NASA’s Office of Education. A recent Elearning! magazine article goes on to report that among “American fourth-graders, only three out of 10 science students and four out of 10 math students demonstrate a high level of interest and aptitude. By high school, that number drops to only two out of 10.” The article continues:

Currently, there are over 1 million jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields going unfilled. The future will require even more of these high tech workers. [...] It is critically important to develop young people who are trained in STEM, because that’s where the best, most interesting ideas come from. “Those kids could be the doctors who save your life,” said Melvin, “… or planting the American flag on Mars.”

A related issue is that there simply “are not enough qualified STEM teachers, and there are limited resources available to train them … Only 16 percent of high school students go to college in STEM fields, and only 12 percent graduate with STEM degrees.”

A recent Slate article echoes Melvin’s concerns. David Plotz reports that, “In 2010, only 4.9 percent of American jobs were in science and engineering, down from 5.3 percent in 2000—the first such decline since 1950.U.S. companies are building factories overseas because they can’t hire enough competent engineers at home.” Plotz goes on to outline some of the quandaries endemic to the issue:

How can we educate more and better scientists and engineers? How can we make science and math enticing to kids? How can we make sure that college students don’t flee labs like I did? How can we persuade kids with scientific inclinations to stay in the sciences? And how can we teach basic science literacy to non-scientists, so they can have a voice in public discussion about cutting-edge technologies and discoveries?

Slate has opened up the discussion to its forum of readers, stating:

We will tackle why science education is lagging and how we can, and must, improve it. Successful scientists will write about what turned them on to science. We’ll offer new methods for how to teach science and math. We’ll focus on how to keep girls interested in science. We’ll ask whether standardized tests inspire or demoralize potential scientists. We’ll look at how other countries teach science and figure out which of their ideas we should steal. [...] We’ll be publicizing the most provocative and promising ideas at the end of the month.

With the grand opening of Peckham Hall, which houses the Integrated Center for Math and Science, in September, Nazareth College is also part of this ongoing nationwide discussion. As Nazareth College President Daan Braveman notes, “This building will help Nazareth expand the number of students interested in pursuing careers in math, science, technology, health care, and teaching. The project will also ensure that our students graduate successfully and enter the workforce or graduate school prepared to begin the next chapter of their lives.”

But it’s not only math and science majors who will benefit from the new and improved learning and research spaces on campus. As a comprehensive college, Nazareth offers its students a liberal arts and sciences curriculum. And as part of that curriculum, lab courses are required. Therefore, all undergraduate students at the College will use and benefit from this center. In the last few years especially, Nazareth has seen a significant increase in enrollment in health and human services programs, which require a number of science courses. Also, in the last five years, Nazareth College has pledged to help meet the national demand for more and better qualified math and science teachers at the K–12 levels. Education remains a cornerstone program at Nazareth, and the College is committed to graduating the best prepared math and science educators for Rochester, the region, and beyond.

The Integrated Center for Math and Science in Peckham Hall will offer more than just updated lab spaces and classrooms. The center will feature dedicated, flexible, and multi-purpose research spaces, a range of support services (including computer labs and preparation rooms), and a variety of student centers—from collaborative group meeting halls to individual tutoring rooms. The building will provide a balance of student, teaching, and research needs—all critical to an interdisciplinary education.

Nazareth College is directly addressing the regional, national, and international need for more scientists, mathematicians, educators in these fields, researchers, health care professionals, and more. From Nazareth graduates restoring patients’ health to faculty inspiring a love for science in area youth and students, the College is committed to discovering and supporting knowledge and skills that will benefit everyday lives.

White House Science Fair Plus More Support for Math & Science Teachers

8 Feb

President Obama | From AP | Photo By Charles Dharapak

Since beginning his term, U.S. President Barack Obama has championed support for math and science educators, as well as the students who will one day apply what they’ve learned to create future positive change. At yesterday’s second annual White House Science Fair, the president reiterated “the importance he places on innovation, science, and education — which will be reflected in his budget to be unveiled next week,” reports AFP.com. In addition, the president announced the following:

Let’s train more teachers. Let’s get more kids studying these subjects. Let’s make sure these fields get the respect and attention that they deserve.

But it’s not just a government effort. I’m happy to say that the private sector has answered that call as well. They understand how important it is to their future. So today, led by the Carnegie Corporation, a group of businesses and foundations is announcing a $22 million fund to help train 100,000 new science and math teachers. A coalition of more than 100 CEOs is expanding innovative math and science programs to 130 sites across the country. And other companies are partnering—everybody from Will.i.am to Dean Kamen—to make sure we celebrate young scientists and inventors and engineers, not just at the White House, but in every city and every town all across America.

And many of these leaders are here today, and I want to thank them for doing their part. We’re going to do everything we can to partner to help you succeed in your projects. And I’m proud to announce that the budget I unveil next week will include programs to help prepare new math and science teachers, and to meet an ambitious goal, which is 1 million more American graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math over the next 10 years. That is a goal we can achieve.

Video of the president at the White House Science Fair is available here.

Nazareth College is also doing its part to help achieve this ambitious goal. The College offers teachers-to-be creative and innovative educational degrees in its School of Education, such as the Tech2Teach program, a collaborative agreement between Nazareth and the Rochester Institute of Technology. The program offers RIT undergraduates interested in teaching the chance to earn a Master of Science in Education and teacher certification.

Meanwhile, Nazareth’s College of Arts and Sciences provides a liberal arts and sciences foundation that promotes flexible, integrated, and critical thinking skills across the disciplines.

And seven months from now, Nazareth College students will begin studying and learning in the LEED-certified, state-of-the-art Integrated Center for Math and Science. These graduates will go on to be the future educators, healers, researchers, artists, businesspeople, successful professionals and engaged citizens for this region and beyond.

From the Chronicle: Liberal Arts and Sciences Need Each Other

16 Nov

In their co-authored article for the Chronicle of Higher Education, Mary Crane and Thomas Chiles (professor of English and chairman of the biology department at Boston College, respectively) write about their responsibility to educate their students, “who will form the educated public of tomorrow”:

It’s up to us to ensure that they receive a liberal-arts education that provides them with the skills to critically evaluate information content, its sources, and its relevance. And while the discussion, reading, and thought that are the hallmarks of the humanities are necessary preludes to effective action, students of the liberal arts will be ill-equipped to deal with our complex world without a firm grounding in statistics, computer science, knowledge of the scientific method, and technological literacy.

Crane and Chiles highlight some of the barriers between faculty in the liberal arts and sciences: competition (real and perceived) for resources, balancing teaching and researching workloads, as well as the insular nature of departments and disciplines. But the authors argue for working through these barriers and collaborating across the disciplines:

In our environmentally and economically challenged, highly technological world, it is crucial that we improve our ability to understand and critically evaluate scientific evidence and arguments. One way to do so is through partnerships between faculty in the natural sciences and faculty from disciplines like journalism, economics, sociology, political science, and philosophy. Together they can develop ways to communicate knowledge about technology and the sciences in an accessible and compelling manner, and to explain the broader relevance of scientific discovery to society.

Cross-disciplinary collaboration among faculty and students is crucial to higher education. Nazareth College’s undergraduate curriculum requires students–regardless of major or discipline–to take a variety of courses in both the liberal arts and sciences. A Nazareth communication and rhetoric major will study biology and math in addition to taking English classes. Likewise, a chemistry major will often take courses from the religious studies and history departments.

“There are some in the public who question the value of a general liberal arts and sciences education,” says Daan Braveman, president of Nazareth College. “In my view, such an educational foundation is more important than ever because we live in a rapidly changing and truly global environment.” Braveman continues:

A liberal arts and sciences education focuses on the knowledge, skills, and values that are valuable in preparing students for their life and for whatever careers they might pursue. The knowledge is broad-based and the skills are transferable. It also focuses on values and inspires dedication to the ideal of service to communities. In short, such an education prepares students for making a life and making a living, especially in the ever-changing world that lies ahead.

This commitment to a comprehensive, interdisciplinary education for students is achieved every day through the curricula offered by Nazareth’s College of Arts and Sciences as well as its Schools of Health and Human Services, Education, and Management. To learn more about how the College is preparing the next generation of successful professionals and engaged citizens, visit www.naz.edu.

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