Hope College will give high school and college biology teachers from around the country a chance to compare notes during a conference running Friday-Saturday, April 16-17.
A total of 39 high school and college educators
will attend the event, titled "Forging a Link: A Conference
on Common Interests." The conference is designed to enable
those attending to think about needs held in common by high
school biology teachers and college teachers of introductory
"High school and college teachers face some common
challenges in the face of the continually expanding amount
of biological knowledge and the development of national
standards for science education," said Dr. Donald Cronkite,
who is the conference organizer and a professor of biology
at Hope. "High school and college faculty have intellectual
resources to offer each other. The training and experience
of each can enhance that of the other."
"The long term goal for this conversation is that
these teachers will form networks and partnerships for
continuing to seek common solutions," he said. "It is hoped
that these linkages will serve as models and foster such
cooperation in other academic communities as well."
Topics will include what should be taught in the
time available, how teaching and assessment knowledge can be
shared with college teachers by high school teachers, and
how research knowledge can be shared with high school
teachers by college faculty. Cronkite noted that he will
consider the event a success if the group identifies "one
good idea" for strengthening the link between high school
and college teaching, and devises a plan for implementing
The high school teachers are coming from as far
away as Florida, Washington, Arizona and Maryland, and as
nearby as Illinois and Ohio. In addition to Hope, the 19
colleges represented include the University of Chicago in
Illinois, Howard University in Washington, D.C., Erskine
College in Due West, S.C., Juniata College in Huntingdon,
Pa., and Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, W.Va.
The conference is funded through the "Award for
the Integration of Research and Education" (AIRE) that Hope
received from the National Science Foundation in the fall.
The $500,000 grant is supporting several projects, including
such conferences for teachers from around the country, in
addition to other workshops that will be geared toward
teachers from West Michigan.