Newswise — FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas is leading an initiative to provide faculty at Iraqi colleges and universities professional development training in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics – known collectively as STEM.

The STEM program will feature two phases next year. In early spring, U of A faculty in the College of Education and Health Professions will conduct a series of online training sessions for 30 to 45 educators in the northern city of Kirkuk.

The virtual training will be followed by a five-week U.S. immersion experience at the U of A for 8-10 Kirkuk educators. The language training and cultural experiences will be provided by a team from the Spring International Language Center in the Graduate School and International Education.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is funding the program through a $101,448 grant.

Michael Daugherty, professor of STEM education and head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, said the goal is to improve the teaching skills and English-language skills of STEM educators in Kirkuk.

“We will engage these educators in some of the latest teaching methodology related to teaching STEM,” said Daugherty. “We will provide them with opportunities to develop curriculum materials for their students, and prepare them to teach other educators in Kirkuk.”

The STEM program workshops will include hands-on experience in developing lesson plans and presenting STEM content to higher education students. The workshops will guide students through creating problem-based learning experiences that develop critical-thinking and creative problem-solving skills and maximize learning in STEM subjects, Daugherty said.

The U.S. phase will include further STEM training as well as English development and sociocultural activities with the local community.

“When they complete the program, the Iraqi educators will understand best practices for STEM field teaching at the postsecondary level and will know how to design and assess learning experiences to engage their students in STEM activities,” he said.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

CONTACT:Michael Daugherty, head, Department of Curriculum and Instruction College of Education and Health Professions 479-575-5119, [email protected]

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