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Conference Will Examine High School and
College Science Education Partnerships

Posted February 21, 2001

HOLLAND -- A national group of high school and college faculty that creates school-college partnerships in science education will meet at Hope College on Friday and Saturday, March 2 and 3, to consider the future of such ventures.

"We've been at this for several years, working more or less anonymously," said Dr. Donald Cronkite, founder of the group and professor of biology at Hope. "Now suddenly partnerships are in the limelight. Even George W. Bush has made partnerships a part of his education program."

Cronkite's organization, called "Forging a Link," began when a group of the best high school teachers in the country and an equal number of college faculty gathered at Hope College to consider two questions: "What do we have in common?" and "What can we do to help each other?"

"At the end of that meeting we were all inspired to go out and form a partnership," Cronkite said. Results included a joint high school-college research project on pollution in roof run-off in New Orleans, La.; a monthly discussion group of college and high school teachers to keep up on biology in Tacoma, Wash.; extensive involvement of a biology professor in new teacher preparation in rural South Carolina; and high school teachers in Massachusetts and Maryland serving as teacher mentors for new college faculty.

"All in all about 20 new partnerships or renewals of on-going ones came out of that conference, and now we meet each year for ideas and encouragement," Cronkite said.

According to Cronkite, the renewed national interest in partnerships has encouraged the group to build for the future. This year's meeting will focus on assessing and maintaining partnerships and using current partnerships to spawn new ones.

Most of the meeting will consist of small working groups writing about their experiences. A keynote address at the college's Haworth Inn and Conference Center on Friday, March 2, at 8:30 a.m. will feature Charles Drewes, professor of biology at Iowa State University, who will present "LINKS: Keys to Science Credibility and Sustainability." The general public is invited to the keynote address. Admission is free.

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