March 27, 2014

VSU Present at STEM Conference

VALDOSTA – Faculty from various departments in the College of Arts and Sciences represented Valdosta State University in the third annual Georgia Scholarship of STEM Teaching and Learning Conference, held March 7 at the Nessmith-Lane Conference Center on the Georgia Southern University campus in Statesboro.

The conference allowed participants to showcase and discuss work to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) teaching and exchange information about web-based learning opportunities. Sponsored by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, the event included representatives from various USG institutions, private higher education institutions and K-12 schools.

Several faculty members from VSU attended and many presented. Among those who presented were Dr. Barry Hojjatie; Dr.Said Fares; Dr. Mary Fares; Dr. Jenny B. Vu; Dr. Donna Gosnell; Dr. Giso Abadi; and Dr. Leslie Sandra Jones.

“I personally was really proud of VSU and its representation at the conference,” said Jones, associate professor of biology. “There is such a push for modernization of out teaching through technology. Since most of the people who teach science right now experienced learning via chalk talks, this type of professional development is crucial. Things are changing fast with all of the online products that are coming out. This conference provided a space for professors to learn how to stay on the cutting edge and become more digitally fluent.”

Jones mentioned that she would not have known of all the “brilliant things” her VSU colleagues were doing if she had not attended the conference.

Among presentations was Vu’s “Hitting Pause on Organic Chemistry”, which discussed how she replaced written procedures for performing organic chemistry experiments with visual demonstrations that she placed on Youtube. These visual demonstrations allow students to watch videos at their convenience to understand techniques better.

The STEM conference complements the university system’s STEM initiative. Goals for the initiative include: promoting K-12 student preparation for and interest in majoring in STEM fields in college; increasing the success of STEM majors in college; and producing more and better science and mathematics teachers for K-12 schools, which in turn will lead to increased preparation of students in science and mathematics.