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STEMing THE TIDE

Mathematic student in a classUnderstanding science and math is essential in daily life and for a variety of occupations.

That’s one reason why community member Richard D. Green decided to help students in K-12 schools through college become more competent in STEM disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Green’s family has been connected to the city of Long Beach for more than 70 years. Although he’s not an alumnus, he initially became interested in supporting CSULB through its President’s Scholars Program after reading about this prestigious scholarship for high school valedictorians and National Scholars.

His attention to the university took a step further when in early 2015, he donated $1 million for three STEM-related purposes. His generous gift creates the Richard D. Green Endowed Professorship in Math Education in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. This gift will enable the department to hire a new faculty member at a senior rank beginning fall 2016. The search is already underway and it is anticipated that the endowed aspect of the position will greatly increase the quantity and quality of applicants.

Green also is helping the Science Education Department enhance its Elementary STEM Institute that prepares elementary school teachers to become more competent in new science standards. Teachers can take part in year-round or summer programs where they’ll learn science content and teaching strategies, test their lessons at local Boys and Girls Clubs during the summer, and receive classroom teaching materials. Year-round participants will also attend seminars and conferences.

“CSULB faculty in science education are state leaders in Next Generation Science Standards, have provided thousands of hours of science and STEM professional development and have demonstrated an effectiveness at leading this kind of program. For area teachers to get this sort of professional development for free is fantastic,” said Professor Laura Henriques.

CSULB student doing experimental project in classIn addition, faculty from the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics, and Science Education will work with Long Beach Unified School District curriculum leaders to design and test three STEM teaching modules, which will be embedded in methods courses in CSULB’s elementary teaching credential program. As Professor Babette Benken, who is overseeing this aspect of the gift explained, “These STEM modules will support prospective teachers’ understanding of both the STEM content and how to teach that content to their future elementary students. A genuinely STEM-focused program helps teachers envision ways to connect and apply these disciplines.” Furthermore, this effort includes funding to provide professional development for CSULB faculty teaching these courses.

“Knowing that my gift will contribute to long-term endeavors to create a more math- and science-literate society is a source of particular satisfaction to me,” Green said.