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We Thank You

23 Nov

In a survey of the 2009 graduating class, 81 percent of the respondents indicated that they are either employed or attending graduate school. Your support helps prepare the next generation of teachers, healers, researchers, businesspeople, and other professionals in this region and beyond.

Meet Paul Rubeo ’12, a Nazareth chemistry major with adolescent education and a minor in biology. He is one of the many scholarship recipients at the College and during this time of giving thanks, he speaks for all of his fellow scholarship students: “My four years at the College have helped me grow through both academic work and extracurricular activities. My Nazareth experience has made me a better individual, and without your generosity that experience may not have been possible.”

We at Nazareth College thank you and wish you a happy Thanksgiving.

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

From Slate: How to Fix Math Education in High Schools and Colleges

11 Nov

For Slate, Torie Bosch reports:

One of the primary problems with math education today, according to Arthur T. Benjamin, is that the sequence of courses leads students in the wrong direction. “For the last 200 years, the mathematics that we’ve learned starts with arithmetic and algebra, and everything we do after that is taking us toward one subject, calculus. I think that is the wrong mathematical goal for 90 percent of our students,” he says. “We’re now living in an age of information and data, and the mathematics that will be most relevant to our daily lives is probability and statistics.” Only some professions require calculus. Everyone reads—and many misunderstand—media reports about health, science, and the environment that contain statistics. Better literacy in probability and stats would benefit everyone.

Nazareth’s mathematics program de-emphasizes rote learning and instead encourages the integration of numerical, graphical, and symbolic approaches to problem solving.  Mathematics is more than a collection of recipes for solving equations; in fact, there often may be multiple correct answers to complex problems. The key is to teach Nazareth students critical thinking, which they will then use and apply in their future careers, whether as mathematicians, math educators, or any other profession involving the mastery of math skills.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of a Nazareth education, many non-math majors take mathematics courses during their time at the College. The new Integrated Center for Math and Science will further enhance Nazareth’s ability to provide a challenging math education for math majors and non-majors alike. And for all students, the math department offers the Elliot Mathematics Center, a space dedicated to free peer-tutoring service for students having difficulty with mathematical skills.

For more information about–and current news from–Nazareth’s department of mathematics, visit

From the New York Times: The Challenge of Retaining and Graduating STEM Majors

4 Nov

As reported by Christopher Drew for the New York Times:

The president and industry groups have called on colleges to graduate 10,000 more engineers a year and 100,000 new teachers with majors in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math. […] And there are encouraging signs, with surveys showing the number of college freshmen interested in majoring in a STEM field on the rise. […] But, it turns out, middle and high school students are having most of the fun, building their erector sets and dropping eggs into water to test the first law of motion. The excitement quickly fades as students … in college wade through a blizzard of calculus, physics and chemistry in lecture halls with hundreds of other students. And then many wash out.

Drew queries how the U.S. will remain competitive and innovative when American students are falling behind their international counterparts in STEM fields. Meanwhile, the big question for educators at colleges and universities is “how to keep the momentum being built in the lower grades from dissipating once the students get to college.”

Drew highlights some possible solutions for educators:

  • Use more interactive teaching techniques. Research confirmed in the 1990s that students learn more by grappling with open-ended problems, like creating a computer game or designing an alternative energy system, than listening to lectures.
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in Massachusetts, updated its curriculum in the 1970s to make room for extensive research, design and social-service projects by juniors and seniors, including many conducted on trips with professors overseas.
  • Enable students to work closely with faculty members, build confidence and promote teamwork. Studies have shown that women, in particular, want to see their schoolwork is connected to helping people, and the projects help them feel more comfortable in STEM fields, where men far outnumber women everywhere except in biology.

Nazareth undergraduate students work closely with faculty on undergraduate research projects.

Nazareth has long been committed to many of these practices. For example, many biology, chemistry, and biochemistry students collaborate with faculty on undergraduate research projects–some even as early as their first semester. With a student-faculty ratio of 14 to 1, Nazareth students receive individual attention from faculty members who encourage them to pursue their interests while also applying their research to real-life problems. For example, current chemistry students are conducting research projects involving alternative fuels, the chemistry of wine, and molecular design at the interface of biology, chemistry, and medicine. Nazareth’s math program also focuses on problem solving. Nazareth students regularly compete in (and have won) the COMAP Mathematical Contest in Modeling, an international competition in which students spend a long weekend applying mathematics to the solution of a real-world problem.

And with the opening of the state-of-the-art Integrated Center for Math and Science in fall 2012, the College will continue to enable and improve collaboration between students and faculty as well as prepare the next generation of students to teach, heal, discover, and transform the Rochester region and beyond.

Nazareth Chemistry Students Present at Rochester Academy of Science

4 Nov

Undergraduate student research is a hallmark of Nazareth's chemistry and biochemistry programs.

On October 29, 2011, Associate Professor of Chemistry Richard Hartmann accompanied Nazareth College chemistry and biochemistry undergraduates to the 38th Annual Fall Scientific Paper Session at the Rochester Academy of Science. The students presented research that they’ve been working on with Hartmann. The session provides a forum for Academy members, the collegiate community, and others engaged in scientific research to present the results of their investigations in an atmosphere that promotes discussion and interaction.

Undergraduate research opportunities and innovative teaching strategies are a hallmark of Nazareth’s science programs. With the opening of the Integrated Center for Math and Science in fall 2012, the new state-of-the-art labs, classrooms, and spaces will support further collaboration between students and faculty.

From AP: Students show growth in math on national test

1 Nov

The Associated Press reports that the latest test scores “show the nation’s fourth- and eighth-graders are doing the best ever in math, but schools still have a long way to go to get everyone on grade level. […] In math, 40 percent of the fourth-graders and 35 percent of the eighth-graders had reached [proficiency].” The New York Times also picked up on the story, noting that although math skills have improved, reading scores continue to lag.

The nationwide need for innovative and creative teachers persists. In response, Nazareth’s School of Education has in place numerous partnerships and collaborations that directly benefit K–12 students in underserved areas, including the Rochester City School District. And beginning in fall 2012, the College’s Integrated Center for Math and Science will help the College better prepare and educate the future teachers in this region and beyond.

President Braveman Reflects on the Need for Science and Math Graduates

31 Oct

Nazareth College President Daan Braveman’s thoughts on the national need for more math and science graduates: 

I read with interest a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled, “High Demand for Science Graduates Enables Them to Pick Their Jobs, Report Says.” The article discussed a recent study, which revealed that graduates who major in science are in high demand in a variety of jobs. It noted that graduates with a bachelor’s degree in a science major earn greater salaries than those with a master’s degree in non-science majors. Forty-seven percent of graduates with a bachelor’s degree in a science field earn more than even those with a doctorate in other fields.

Other studies have stressed the national need for more students who are trained in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. A few years ago, the National Academies of Sciences wrote a report called, “The Gathering Storm,” which found that the U.S. must produce more students interested in these fields in order to remain competitive in the global economy. It noted that innovation is the prerequisite for developing the new ideas that will produce jobs in the future. Such innovation requires more people trained in math and science. This, however, is where the crisis emerges. We, in the U.S., are falling behind other countries in producing individuals with skills in those fields.

Our new Integrated Center for Math and Science, which will open in fall of 2012, will be the finest facility in the region for preparing students in the fields of science and math. The center will include labs and classrooms with the latest equipment and technology. Another distinguishing feature of the center is the range of spaces that will enable us to expand opportunities for undergraduate students to work with faculty members on exciting  research projects. These projects will stress interdisciplinary and collaborative learning, allowing students to develop an appreciation for both the theoretical and the practical application of science and math.

Nazareth is pleased that it will take a leadership role in the region for offering precisely the kind of educational experiences needed to meet the national demand for students who are well prepared in science and math fields.

To read more from President Braveman on this and other topics, visit his blog.


21 Oct

The demand for high quality K–12 math and science educators is well documented with a projected shortfall of more than 280,000 math and science teachers across the United States by 2015. The Nazareth College School of Education and Rochester Institute of Technology offer a unique collaboration to help address this nation-wide teacher shortage: Tech2Teach. The partnership is designed to make it easier for RIT undergraduates to begin earning a Master of Science in education and teacher certification at Nazareth while they are still undergrads at RIT.

WXXI Features President Braveman Speaking on Math and Science & Community Impact

11 May

Celebrating Nazareth’s New Green Benchmark

18 Apr

Northwest view of the Integrated Center for Math and Science, which will be the first LEED-certified building on campus.

With Earth Day upon us, we wanted to take the chance to tout Nazareth’s largest environmental sustainability project–our new Integrated Center for Math and Science. We broke ground on the project recently and there’s been a flurry of activity at the construction site since.

With the wonderful green design of the building, we expect the project to achieve at least a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)-certified green building rating of silver, which would make it the only building on campus to have LEED certification and the only building in Pittsford, N.Y., to have that, too. Currently a voluntary effort by property owners, LEED is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. The number of points a building receives by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which oversees all LEED certifications, will determine its rating.

So, what does that mean, exactly? To achieve LEED certification status with a silver, gold, or platinum rating (and we’re hoping that by the end of the project it will be certified platinum), the site and building must meet the following six guidelines established by the USGBC:

  • Sustainable site development: This site has alternative transportation close to a bus line and bike racks; the building has an integrated engineering-sustainable design; it will have combined lab, administrative, classroom and a lecture hall.
  • Water efficiency: The building will have low-flow fixtures; electronic-sensor faucets; and water-efficient landscaping with native plants.
  • Energy and atmosphere: Rain water from the roof will be collected in an area behind the building to capture water before it enters the storm-water system.
  • Materials and resources selection: The building will be able to store and collect recyclables; we aim to divert between 75 and 95 percent of construction waste for the project; 20 percent of the materials we use will come from sites within 500 miles; we will use certified wood, with 50 percent of the wood coming from the Forest Stewardship Council; the roof of the building will be made of composite that will be good for 50 years, which is much higher than traditional slate; and there will be two 20′ x 20′ green roofs proposed for the building.
  • Indoor environmental quality: We will try to provide the best air quality during construction and thereafter; we will monitor the carbon monoxide levels in the air; and we will increase ventilation and use low-emitting materials, from paint to carpet, etc.
  • Green design innovations: The green roofs on the building will reduce the heat island effect and light pollution.

The four-story center will be the largest newly built academic building on our campus. In addition to its green design, the Integrated Center for Math and Science will provide several great academic benefits, like collaborative spaces and state-of-the art technologies. In the meantime, walk by the site of the building–near the Golisano Academic Center–and get excited about this new benchmark for Nazareth!