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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 14, 2006

Schumer Announces Ithaca College Will Receive $150,000 For Science Education

Federal Funds Will Be Used To Implement New Astronomy and Physics Curriculum

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that Ithaca College will receive a $150,000 federal grant from the National Science Foundation. Federal funds will be used for the development and implementation of the Student Centered Activities for Large Enrollment for University Programs (SCALE-UP). Under this program, Ithaca College will use these funds to incorporate SCALE-UP’s physics and astronomy curriculum in to the university’s science department. "This is great news for Ithaca College and the student community,” said Schumer. “It is essential that college students receive a well-rounded education, and the SCALE-UP program will provide the college with the resources it needs to develop a strong and competitive science program.”

Federal funds will be used by Ithaca College to improve physics and astronomy instruction at the introductory level. The goal of this project is to implement the Student Centered Activities for Large Enrollment University Programs (SCALE-UP). The objectives are to increase students' conceptual understanding of physics and astronomy, problem solving abilities, and understanding of the nature of physics and of science in general. Through the use of materials, facilities, quizzes, discussion questions, and experiments, the SCALE-UP program has demonstrated success at increasing students' conceptual understanding of physics, appreciation for the nature of science, problem solving abilities, and increasing retention. SCALE-UP’s inclusive and hands on approach to the study of physics and astronomy offers a way of teaching introductory science classes in a studio physics format for both small and large-enrollment courses. The SCALE-UP approach to science education has resulted in an increase in the science literacy of non-science majors, contributing to a more science literate society.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense. With an annual budget of about $5.5 billion, it is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.

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