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HHMI Award Bolsters MSU Commitment to STEM

Michigan State University has a strong record of student success in the STEM fields, and we are committed to doing even better.

MSU is a leader in STEM education.

“Our nation’s research universities are absolutely critical to sustaining our scientific excellence,” said President Robert Tjian of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. “Simply put, we are challenging these universities to focus their attention on improving science education so that a greater number of talented students remain in science.”

HHMI has awarded a five-year $1.5 million grant to improve introductory courses that serve as gateways to continued studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, said R. Sekhar Chivukula, associate dean of MSU’s College of Natural Science and the grant’s coordinator.

“Michigan State University has a strong record of student success in the STEM fields, and we are committed to doing even better,” Chivukala said. “The investment by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute allows us to expand our efforts to graduate a larger number of highly trained mathematicians, scientists and engineers for our state and nation.”

MSU’s approach transforms introductory STEM courses to emphasize core scientific and mathematical ideas and practices that are common across different disciplines.

Specific projects include reform and revision of chemistry and physics laboratory courses, the creation of digital evolution education software modules in biology and the development of a new modeling-based calculus curriculum.

The initiative involves faculty from the colleges of Natural Science, Engineering, Education and Lyman Briggs College, plus faculty with the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action, the CREATE for STEM Institute and the Center for Engineering Education Research.

“On behalf of the MSU STEM faculty involved in this project, I am grateful to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for its generous funding of our efforts,” Chivukula said.

MSU’s honor was part of the 2014 HHMI Research Universities Competition, which resulted in 37 winners and a total of $60 million in awards. These grants have focused on transforming science education in the United States by encouraging science teaching that is hands-on, research-oriented and interdisciplinary.

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