Georgia Tech Provides Support for the State’s Race to the Top Program

Institute Receives $7.5 Million to Expanding STEM Programs

The Georgia Institute of Technology has gained a stellar reputation for providing students with learning opportunities that encourage them to pursue advanced studies in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields and for supporting teacher professional development in the STEM disciplines.  As a result, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Tech will receive $7.5 million in funding through the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top program to expand STEM programs through its outreach center, the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC).

In addition to the introduction of new engaging and rigorous courses for students, Georgia Tech’s initiatives will be based on the NASA Electronic Professional Development Network model provided through the Institute’s Distance Learning and Professional Education (DLPE) unit for teachers pursuing advanced courses. Georgia Tech will also continue to expand the Georgia Intern-Fellowships for Teachers (GIFT) program that places high school STEM teachers as partners in STEM-focused summer internships in industry and university research.

“Through this program, we are able to increase access to STEM education for both K-12 teachers and students throughout the state, helping not only those individuals, but also improving Georgia’s competitiveness by creating a more educated workforce  and developing future leaders ,” said Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson. “While many would be surprised by our activities in this arena, we have world-class programs in STEM education, and we look forward to continuing to leverage this expertise to enhance the economic competitiveness of the state of Georgia.”

Established in 1991, CEISMC ‘s focus is to effect systemic changes that lead to improved appreciation and performance in science, mathematics and technology for all students.

 “Even though we don’t have a school of education, Georgia Tech is well equipped to help students and teachers because of our cutting-edge research programs in STEM areas,” said Dr. Richard Millman, CEISMC director. “Integrating applied tasks with education is tremendously exciting in a partnership of students, teachers and Georgia Tech faculty.”

An example of the Institute’s support of the state’s STEM initiatives is the award from the National Science Foundation to Georgia Tech of a $3.5 million grant for the Science Learning: Integrating Design, Engineering and Robotics (SLIDER) program last fall. Working in tandem with the Georgia Department of Education, the program targets three Georgia school systems – one urban, one rural, and one suburban – in Cobb, Emanuel and Fulton counties.  The project involves developing and implementing a rigorous eighth grade physical science program that utilizes engineering design, LEGO™ robotics, and a problem-based learning approach to teach mechanics, waves and energy. Another example is Georgia Tech’s close work with the Schools of Education at Kennesaw State University and Georgia State University to assist highly qualified Tech students who want to become STEM teachers.

“Georgia Tech was a valuable partner in the development of our Race to the Top application,” said Erin Hames, chief of staff for the Georgia Department of Education. “As always, they came to the table with a spirit of ingenuity and helped us develop a winning application that will improve STEM education for Georgia students.”

Georgia, projected to receive approximately $400 million over four years, was one of 11 states and the District of Columbia selected.  The grant, focused on supporting new approaches to improve schools, was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Georgia Tech’s involvement in the Race to the Top program is expected to begin immediately.

Georgia Tech Provides STEM Support for Race to the Top Program
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A high school class in Fulton County accesses a Georgia Tech calculus class through the Institute's Distance Learning and Professional Education (DLPE) unit.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech’s more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.