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Date: Sep 10, 2007
Engineering Professor Wins Three-year National Science Foundation Grant to Modify Technical Studies Curricula to Attract More Women
Dr. Margaret Hunter will work with local community colleges on making science, engineering, math programs more equitable
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY – Dr. Margaret Hunter of Hofstra’s Engineering Department has been awarded almost $725,000 over three years by the National Science Foundation to develop a transferable framework to adapt a broad range of existing curricula to attract more women to technical studies such as engineering, physics and mathematics.
“The gender and racial gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education programs limits the pool of potential workers and threatens the nation’s intellectual and economic competitiveness,” Dr. Hunter said. “The lack of women in these professions also diminishes the social consciousness that competent female leaders would bring to technical endeavors.”
Dr. Hunter is coordinating Project ESTEEM - Equitable Science Technology Engineering Education and Mathematics –a collaboration of faculty from Hofstra's Center for Technological Literacy, Nassau Community College and CUNY’s Queensborough Community College that is developing a framework for infusing gender equitable information and materials into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curriculum at community colleges.
Project ESTEEM enhances women's opportunities to succeed in technical studies leading to further education and careers. The framework helps teachers, publishers and curriculum developers to infuse equity into existing curriculum materials, rather than to develop new equity materials. The framework being developed will be broadly applicable to all curriculum materials in these fields at all levels of education.
Among the techniques being used are incorporating practices that build self-esteem, increased group interaction as opposed to lectures, cooperative learning, and demonstrating how these fields are helping society, Dr. Hunter said.
The curricula will be used at the two community colleges beginning this semester, and will be expanded to other community colleges over the next two years, Dr. Hunter said, adding that she will use some of the techniques in her own classes at Hofstra.
Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution where students find their edge to succeed in more than 140 undergraduate and 155 graduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, business, communication, education and allied human services, and honors studies, and a School of Law. With a student-faculty ratio of 14-to-1, our professors teach small classes averaging 23 students that emphasize interaction, critical thinking and analysis. Hofstra offers a faculty whose highest priority is teaching excellence, cutting edge technology, extensive library resources, internships and special educational programs that appeal to their interests and abilities. The Hofstra community is driven, dynamic and energetic, helping students find and focus their strengths to prepare them for a successful future.