The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) leveraging funding from a number of federal state and local programs has established an extensive precollege Teacher Enhancement Program in Biology (TEP). The TEP has capitalized on the rich human and physical resources of the UW to build a program which uses an approach of science which is as a way of knowing and doing. The focus is on problem solving and hands-on practical exercises which can easily be translated into classroom activities.
The following are the components of the program: Summer Institute (SI) consists of 48 one- and two-week courses each for 15–20 teachers covering an array of topics in biology including human genetics, biotechnology, animal and plant biology, alcohol and drug prevention, health, environmental biology, and elementary school science program.
- Academic Year activities include workshops school visits field trips and student research projects.
- Instructional materials development which is integrated into the SI and the Academic Year activities.
- Teacher leadership has teachers playing a key role in dissemination SI course instruction and development of materials.
- Partnerships of many types include scientists and teachers TEP with community and private colleges with regional teacher Institute, with industrial companies, with private foundations, and with schools and school districts.
The proposed SEPA project would continue to build refine and evaluate the program in conjunction with funding from other sources. The goal is to bring the program to the point where it could be modeled to other universities and colleges allowing for the replication of the different components or of the integrated collaborative program as a whole.
The following are the new aspects of the program which are planned as part of the next SEPA grant:
- Continuation of the Summer Institute for over 600 teachers in 48 courses; *expansion of the SI with a focus on health-related course (using physicians), neuroscience, tack and systematic reform courses (gender in science benchmarks multi-cultural science);
- Expansion of the Academic year activities with a focus on distance education computer networking research projects and systemic reform issues;
- Development and publication of instructional materials and development of ten new topics in collaboration with scientists; and
- Expansion of the partnerships, especially with schools involvement of preservice teachers graduate and post doctoral researchers and medical students.
All of this will be comprehensively evaluated through a longitudinal outcome-based evaluation which builds upon the present extensive evaluation of the Summer Institute.