PARSE Institute Established at SPC

Jersey City, N.J.  –  Saint Peter’s College has established the Practical Application of Research in Science Education (PARSE) Institute. The goal of the program is to develop the next generation of scientists and technologists by providing a new model for science education, as well as innovative, collaborative and interdisciplinary approaches to professional development.

Funded by a $450,000 private grant, the PARSE Institute represents a cooperative effort between Saint Peter’s Applied Science and Technology and Education departments, and in collaboration with the Center for Microplasma Science & Technology (CMST), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), and Liberty Science Center (LSC).

The PARSE Institute offers science teachers in Hudson County the opportunity to perform scientific research and incorporate experimental findings into their curriculum. The program strives to create a larger, more highly skilled and highly educated scientific and technological workforce.

“The depth of service and breadth of contact distinguishes PARSE from other professional development opportunities,” noted Dr. Jose L. Lopez, Director of the Scientific Program for the PARSE Institute. “It is a resource that will help science and technology teachers better educate their students, and encourage them to pursue careers in science and technology.”

In the July 2009 pilot program, a group of teachers will participate in an orientation that consists of an introduction to the PARSE Institute’s partners and research projects, educational theory workshops, site visits and a survey of modern scientific advancement.

Following orientation, the teachers will perform two to three weeks of hands-on research with a professional scientist in the teachers’ choice of concentration: plasma physics, energy, the environment, or biotechnology and human genetics. After completing the research, participants and Saint Peter’s faculty will collaborate to translate the research experiences into discernible curricular units. At that time, they will also address the New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards in Science.

Upon completion of the program, teachers will be considered PARSE Fellows. In addition to their intensive practical research experience, individuals will receive continuous mentor support and have the opportunity to participate in classroom visits or observations, field trips and additional research opportunities. Smaller and shorter programs will also be offered throughout the course of the academic year.

For more details regarding the program, please visit www.spc.edu/parse, or contact Dr. Lopez at joselopez@spc.edu, or Dr. James J. Clayton, Director of the Educational Program for the PARSE Institute at jclayton@spc.edu.