The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies has chosen The University of Texas at Tyler to participate in the Earth System Science Education Alliance, Dr. William Geiger, UT Tyler College of Education and Psychology dean, announced.
As one of the 24 partners, UT Tyler will receive a $40,000 grant and training to offer a series of online Earth system science courses geared toward teachers of specific grade levels and aligned to national education standards.
Working in collaborative groups, teachers who enroll in an ESSEA course may earn undergraduate, graduate or continuing education credit while learning to teach earth system science using inquiry-based classroom methods. Ten associate members also selected will have access to the courses, training and the ESSEA network through Web and telecommunications.
The Earth System Science Education Alliance is an innovative professional development program for pre-service and in-service middle and high school teachers.
“This is significant because it will offer professional development online to teachers across Texas and give the university more visibility to provide a greater impact,” said Dr. Michael Odell, UT Tyler Celia and Sam Roosth endowed chair.
Selected participants include state universities, private colleges and science research and education organizations spread among 22 states and the District of Columbia.
IGES also will assist participating institutions by helping them create a sustainable infrastructure for delivering courses and providing evaluation tools to ensure strong comprehensive understanding of earth system science and effective teaching in the subject. In addition, IGES will inform ESSEA participants about the latest earth system science research and teaching practices.
ESSEA is funded through a cooperative agreement awarded to IGES by the National Science Foundation under its geoscience teacher training program, which supports projects designed to improve the quality of geoscience education, primarily at the middle and high school levels.
The NSF-funded program will build and expand on the original ESSEA program funded by NASA and administered by IGES from 2000 to 2005. IGES is currently updating the existing courses with additional online tools, modules and materials.
IGES, established in 1994, is a nonprofit organization supported by public and private entities that focuses on earth and space science education, communication and outreach and in fostering national and international cooperation in observing the earth.
One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 70 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of nearly 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.