23 Feb 2018 A&M-Commerce Computer Science Professor Awarded Grant for STEM Professional Development Initiative
Dr. Isaac Gang, Assistant Professor for Computer Science and Information Systems, was awarded $99,890 for his project entitled “2017-2018 Texas Mathematics and Science Partnership Professional Development Network.”
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 73% of all the new annual STEM jobs through 2020 will be computing-related, resulting in “nearly half a million new jobs, far more than any other STEM group.”
Dr. Gang’s project addresses the need for Computer Science graduates by developing a K-12 teachers professional development and certification initiative that will lead them to incorporate appropriate computing skills into their lesson plans at each grade level. “By attempting to make Computer Science a mainstream subject, we hope to get the kids exposed at an early age and improve the number of kids choosing Computer Science as a major coming out of high school,” Dr. Gang explains.
The project aims to train teachers to implement computing skills in the classroom through a mix of workshops, online/hybrid courses, as well as seminars and other trainings in a rigorous, hands-on learning experience. Divided into three categories, training targets all teachers, from those with no experience (Exposure Training) and some experience (Intermediate Training) to computer science teachers (Advanced Training). The goal is to fully train 30 teachers this year, with the possibility of additional grants to continue the efforts into the future.
Dr. Gang believes that, with 16 uniquely experienced faculty members, the Department of Computer Science at A&M-Commerce has the services and personnel to deliver innovative and cutting-edge Computer Science professional development to local teachers for the foreseeable future.
“A&M-Commerce, with its vibrant and ABET-accredited Computer Science program, is well placed to play a leading role in this initiative of professionally developing K-12 teachers in Computer Science,” said Dr. Gang.
The award was made by the University of Texas at Austin, which receives funds from the Texas Education Agency and the U.S. Department of Education to grant to sub-recipients.