Grants & Funding

Science "Bug" Contagious When Contracted Early

A team headed by two CCNY professors has been awarded $2.4 million over five years from the National Science Foundation to come up with new design/technology-based methodologies to teach physical science in urban elementary schools and disadvantaged settings. The program, entitled "Physical Science Comes Alive: Exploring Things That Go," is headed by mechanical engineering professor Gary Benenson and professor of science education James Neujahr.

Research has shown that early exposure to scientific concepts, such as matter and energy, has long-term beneficial effects on students' ability to excel in science later on. But many American elementary school children, especially in poorer districts, receive little, if any, instruction in science, especially physical science.

"Design provides a rich context for learning science, but it is rarely done in American schools, especially in the elementary grades," said Benenson. Technology education incorporates the kinds of analytical and critical thinking skills essential for careers dependent upon math and the sciences, such as engineering, architecture and industrial design, he added.

The program aims to produce four curriculum units on Force & Motion and Energy Transformation for the K-2 and 3-5 grade bands. Each unit will focus on the design and testing of kinetic toys, or the development of strategies for playing games that invoke principles of mechanics and electricity to achieve successful outcomes.

Training Teachers for Under-served Communities

Black men make up less than 5 percent of the teachers serving in New York City's schools. To increase those numbers and to better prepare new teachers for under-served communities, the University is partnering with the city school system in a $1 million initiative supported by Deutsche Bank.

The Deutsche Bank funding is the first phase of a new "Teachers as Leaders" program announced recently at the Clinton Global Initiative by the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation and its partners, CUNY and the Schott Foundation for Public Education.

The Teachers as Leaders program is designed to promote teaching as a preferred career path and improve the talent development model for teachers globally. The first phase will focus on New York City and incorporate structured apprenticeships, mentoring, skills development and scholarships for participating students.

Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost Selma Botman said these efforts will run in conjunction with CUNY's Black Male Initiative, which seeks to increase, encourage and support the inclusion and educational success of under-represented groups, in particular black males, in higher education. CUNY is expected to receive $730,000 over two years for teacher education programs.

The New York City Department of Education will help create the program design, a primary goal of which will be to address the lack of representation of black men in the education system by helping them succeed academically and serve as role models for all students. Black male teachers represent just 4.4 percent of the city's teacher workforce, according to the Department of Education.

"RISE-ing" Stars

LaGuardia Community College has received a five-year $2.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for a project that will build on the school's award-winning, first-year programs in order to strengthen teaching in key second-year and capstone courses. Project RISE (Re-Invigorating Second-year Education) will stress faculty professional development through acquisition and assessment of core competencies, creating capstones, and continuing development of ePortfolios. The award will also enhance advisement and expand a new student peer advising network.

In Brief

Brooklyn College $304,894 from the National Institutes of Health for research concerning obesity; and $130,783 from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research for biofuels research.

CUNY Graduate School $330,000 from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation for its International Fellows Program.

Hunter College $304,011 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for research concerning spinal cord regeneration; and $282,877 from the NYC Department of Education to develop graduate courses relating to the education of students with autism.

John Jay College of Criminal Justice $218,500 from the U.S. Air Force to study small group dynamics in the evolution of global network terrorism.

LaGuardia Community College $150,389 from the NYC Mayor's Office for adult literacy programs.

Medgar Evers College $200,000 from the NY State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance for adult and family literacy programs.

Queens College $232,500 from the National Institutes of Health for research on metastatic melanoma.

York College $297,100 from the National Science Foundation to promote chemical technology education and careers.