Coastal Bend business leaders, University faculty, and area educators will be among the participating dignitaries when Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi breaks ground for the College of Education’s new $3 million Math and Science Education Center on Friday, Dec. 3 at 10 a.m.
University President Robert R. Furgason will wield one of the 10 shovels during the groundbreaking ceremony. He’ll be joined by Dr. Dee Hopkins, dean of the University’s College of Education; Drs. Margaret Bolick and Denise Hill of the College of Education; Dr. Christine Marroquin of the Early Childhood Development Center; Chuck Cazales, manager of Government and Public Affairs at CITGO; Don Greer of Durrant Architect; Barnes Elementary pre-service teacher Rebecca Price; Flour Bluff Middle School teacher Cliff Strain; and Gary Leach of the Blanche Davis Moore Foundation.
The Math and Science Education Center, which is adjacent to the University’s teacher training Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC), is completely donor funded. Leading contributors include the Houston Endowment, the Blanche Davis Moore Foundation and CITGO Refining & Chemicals, LP. When completed in 2005, the education center will house classrooms, science and math labs, a wet lab, a children’s discovery lab, and exhibit areas. Outside laboratory “nodes” will provide K-16 students with hands-on experiences dealing with air, soil, and water.
A permanent director for the Math and Science Education Center will be named prior to its opening and there are plans to have a teacher-in-residence to share proven instructional techniques. In addition, teachers will be able to enhance their skills through the College of Education’s professional development workshops that will be offered at the Math and Science Education Center. To combat the critical shortage of qualified math and science teachers, a strong emphasis will be placed on preparing education majors for certification in those fields.
Dr. Bolick, associate professor of teacher education and coordinator for the Center for the Professional Development of Teachers, also envisions integrated projects that combine math, science, reading, and technology skills.
“The mathematics lab will have moveable tables and manipulatives for younger children who have not yet acquired the skills for abstract thinking,” said Dr. Bolick. “We’ll also have graduate students in teacher education and some master teachers working with the children.”