New tutoring course in development at University

University and Washoe County School District partner to provide STEM tutoring for high school students

New tutoring course in development at University

University and Washoe County School District partner to provide STEM tutoring for high school students

The University of Nevada, Reno is currently developing an Education Outreach Experience course for graduate and undergraduate students. The course is designed for non-education majors who have an interest in teaching to develop science, technology, engineering and math education skills through service, assisted teaching and tutoring at Title-1 high schools within Washoe County. This is a collaboration among the University's College of Education, College of Science and the College of Engineering.

"Washoe County School District is thrilled and welcomes the opportunity for our students struggling in math and science to be tutored by University students in the Education Outreach Experiences class," Lisa Lightfoot, Washoe County School District Services Administrator, said. "The high school students will not only have a better chance at succeeding and graduating, but these University students serve as important role models and mentors to direct them to college and in reaching their full potential."  

The course is designed for any student in a STEM related major who would like to volunteer time to help children in the Washoe County School District at any grade level K-12. Students enrolled in the class who wish to volunteer with high school students will tutor students in the Hug High School ASCENT program, which stands for All Students College Educated in Nevada Today, and Sparks High School AVID program, which stands for Achievement Via Individual Determination.

"Adequate preparation in STEM fields is absolutely essential for the successful career paths of many of our high school graduates and it is also critical for the global competitiveness of our workforce." David Zeh, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the graduate school, said.

The idea for a class to facilitate a steady flow of tutors came from hydrologic sciences graduate students Laura Craig, Steve Clarke and Research Professor Christian Fritsen back in 2012. However, it was not until University hydrogeology graduate student Erik Cadaret started volunteering as a tutor at Hug High School in spring 2014 that the process to develop the course became a reality. Cadaret proposed the idea to Associate Dean in the College of Science Gina Tempel, Assistant Professor of Engineering Education Adam Kirn and Professor of Science Education and Executive Director of the Raggio Research Center for STEM Education David Crowther. The three professors and Cadaret have worked with the Washoe County School District to develop the class and to receive grant funding for the course.  

"Hydrological sciences graduate student Erik Cadaret deserves special credit for spearheading this program," Zeh said. "Erik is an outstanding ambassador for the graduate school and is committed to making a difference in the lives of our high school students." 

While the EDUC/ENGR/SCI 435/635 course is still in the process of being approved, the University will offer an independent study class for graduate and undergraduate students during the spring 2015 semester. The class will act as a pilot run before it is fully implemented in fall 2015.

As the program continues, University officials hope to see the course expand outside of STEM classes and be provided to other schools in the community.

"This course will act as a vehicle for the University to be more active in the community," Cadaret said.

Students can currently enroll in the independent study class at MyNevada. Undergraduate students must be a junior or senior in standing. For more information, contact Gina Tempel at gtempel@unr.edu David Crowther at crowther@unr.edu or Adam Kirn at akirn@unr.edu.

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