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KU partners with PLTW to support biomedical science education

Thursday, June 26, 2014

LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas joined Project Lead The Way (PLTW) as an affiliate partner to support the growth of PLTW Biomedical Science programs in the state. KU joins nearly 50 other colleges, universities and research institutions that offer teacher training, student recognition opportunities and additional support for PLTW and its network of more than 6,000 schools in the United States.

As an affiliate partner, KU is an integral part of the PLTW experience. Affiliate partners host PLTW professional development training programs, which are required for each course a PLTW teacher instructs. Affiliates also host annual conferences for school administrators and counselors, as well as provide ongoing support to PLTW schools. In Kansas, KU will support PLTW Biomedical Science teacher training and program growth. Wichita State University is currently PLTW’s affiliate partner for PLTW Engineering and PLTW Gateway training and growth.

“As the state’s flagship university, KU is focused upon educating tomorrow’s leaders and driving innovation,” said Jeffrey S. Vitter, KU provost and executive vice chancellor. “We aspire to engage our students in the learning process, and we challenge them to take an active role in their education. The partnership with Project Lead the Way will provide teachers in our state with access to a rigorous and relevant professional development experience designed to inspire discovery and spark a passion for learning. In addition, it will support KU’s expanded concept of the classroom and laboratory and bring student experiences to a whole new level.”

KU is home to the Center for STEM Learning, an interdisciplinary center within the College of LIberal Arts & Sciences that aims to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and teacher development throughout the state. Through the center’s UKanTeach program, students complete a bachelor's degree in arts or science in a specific STEM content area as they earn certification to teach secondary school. UKanTeach aligns with PLTW’s teacher training approach focused on strengthening instructional practice and content knowledge in order to engage students in authentic learning.

Steven Case, who directs the Center for STEM Learning and UKanTeach program and now serves as PLTW affiliate director, said that PLTW was a good match with KU.

“We are looking for curriculums with proven efficacy to do teacher training. PLTW was a natural fit," he said. "We expect teachers to go out ready to engage students in meaningful, authentic work and projects.”

“Project Lead The Way is very pleased to welcome the University of Kansas to our network of outstanding affiliate partners,” said PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram. “There is great demand for highly skilled biomedical science professionals in the state and throughout our country. Through this partnership with KU, we can empower more teachers to engage students in acquiring the skills they need to be successful in fields critical to our nation’s future.”

KU has five campus locations, two of which will play a role in PLTW teacher training. The Lawrence Campus offers PLTW Core Training, an in-person learning experience that engages teachers in the content and pedagogy they need to be successful with the PLTW Biomedical Science curriculum. Case says he also plans to make connections with the Medical Center Campus located in Kansas City, which includes the schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions, to provide additional learning experiences.