UMR receives Kauffman Foundation grant for pre-engineering education

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On May 23, 2006

The University of Missouri-Rolla has received a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City to help improve pre-college engineering education.

UMR will receive a matching-funds grant of $387,000 over a four-year period. To receive the grant from the foundation, UMR must match the funds.

The grant will support UMR’s statewide and regional leadership in Project Lead The Way, a rapidly growing, high-quality pre-engineering curriculum for high schools and middle schools.

“There is a strong national need for engineers, and Project Lead The Way is the best and most complete curriculum available,” says Dr. Ralph Flori, assistant dean of engineering for pre-college and undergraduate programs in the UMR School of Engineering. Flori leads the project’s efforts in Missouri.

“Project Lead the Way classes introduce students to the invented world, the manufactured world, the design and innovation process,” Flori says. “The program introduces students to the exciting, man-made world of iPods, personal computers and automobiles. That’s a departure from traditional high school science.”

The program’s curriculum focuses on activities and team-based projects that give students the chance to work with their hands and see how math and science fit into those activities.

The Kauffman Foundation grant will help fund UMR’s summer training of Missouri PLTW teachers, UMR-organized ongoing professional development of teachers and counselors, and UMR’s role in recruiting Missouri schools and teachers into the program, expanding the program’s coverage across the state. It will also improve lines of communication between UMR and Missouri school administrations and teachers, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and national PLTW officials.

UMR is gearing up to offer summer training for more than 40 high school PLTW teachers from July 9-21.

“We plan to offer the highest quality training possible for these teachers to help them be fully prepared to offer rich educational experiences to their students,” Flori says. Lead teachers in the training will be Dr. Tim Philpot, associate professor of interdisciplinary engineering; Dr. Joe Stanley, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Dr. Stuart Baur, assistant professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering.

Once schools have implemented the PLTW program, UMR will coordinate assessment of the program and provide PLTW school certification.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City is a private, nonpartisan foundation that works with partners to advance entrepreneurship in America and improve the education of children and youth. The Kauffman Foundation was established in the mid-1960s by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Kauffman. Information about the Kauffman Foundation is available at

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On May 23, 2006. Posted in News