All posts by hrpowers

Amato-Henderson Elected Chair-elect of AHDP

Susan Amato-HendersonSusan Amato-Henderson, chair of the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences, attended the Association of Heads of Departments of Psychology (AHDP) meeting in Atlanta, Georgia Nov. 2-3.
AHDP is a professional development organization for heads and chairs of academic departments of psychology. At this year’s meeting, Amato-Henderson was elected chair-elect, which she will hold for two years prior to then serving a two-year term as chair of AHDP.
AHDP first began with a small, informal gathering of chairs at an annual Southeastern Psychology Association meeting in 1967. The first annual meeting of AHDP was held at an Atlanta airport Dec. 5-7, 1968.
Since that time, annual AHDP meetings have been held every fall in Atlanta. The association hosts leadership training and professional development seminars at its annual meetings, where a broad range of educational concerns as well as the research and service missions common to institutions of higher education are discussed. Membership includes representatives from very large and very small departments in both private and public academies.

Research for Teachers Poster Session

Group of Teachers present posters on mobile chalkboards to attendeesA poster session for the Michigan Tech 2018 Research Experiences for Teachers was held from 3 to 5 p.m. yesterday (Aug. 9) in the Great Lakes Research Center Second Floor Atrium.

The poster session concludes the NSF-funded Teacher Professional Development summer institute, “Computational Tools and the Environment.”  Twelve in-service teachers were paired up with civil and environmental engineering graduate students to research topics such as water quality, lead contamination, aquaponics and renewable energy.

The results of their research have been translated into curricula for science and mathematics classes. They will present the results of their research and curriculum development at the poster session.

New Funding

Kevin TrewarthaKevin Trewartha (CLS/RICC) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $455,884 research and development grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/National Institutes of Health. Shane Meuller (CLS/RICC) is the Co-PI on the project “Motor Learning as a Sensitive Behavioral Marker of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Early Alzheimer’s Disease.”

This is a three-year project.


Michigan Tech’s Mi-STAR kits to be supplied by Nasco

Mi-STAR’s curriculum and its associated professional learning program were designed and developed in full alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Michigan Science Standards. The curriculum is unique in that it integrates content and methods across the traditional disciplinary boundaries of Earth and space science, life science, engineering and physical science. Engineering principles are fully embedded in the curriculum; engineering is not treated as an afterthought or add-on by Mi-STAR.

Although the curriculum is still being developed, all of the 6th-grade units will be available in time for the start of school in fall 2018. Several 7th- and 8th-grade units will also be available for the fall. When completed, the entire middle school curriculum will address all of the middle school standards.

Mi-STAR’s curriculum and associated professional learning support student-centered instruction in middle school classrooms. Each unit in the Mi-STAR curriculum addresses a real-world problem that is of wide interest to 21st-century society. By maintaining a focus on real-world problems, the curriculum helps students understand how science and engineering are used to design solutions to issues that are relevant to their communities and the world.

“By partnering with a major corporation to produce and deliver kits to schools, Mi-STAR will be able to expand its reach and provide better service to educators and other users” says Jackie Huntoon, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Michigan Tech. Huntoon noted “anything a STEM-focused University like Michigan Tech can do to increase students’ interest in science before they graduate from high school will ultimately benefit our state and the nation.

“Michigan Tech scientists and engineers have devoted a lot of time and effort into making Mi-STAR the best it can be—and these efforts are really having a positive impact on Michigan’s teachers and students.”

Mi-STAR was founded in 2015 through a generous gift to Michigan Tech from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation. In 2017, Mi-STAR was identified as a promising program by STEMworks at WestEd.

School districts partnering with Mi-STAR have been successful at obtaining support from the Michigan Department of Education to enhance their teacher’s professional learning and to improve science learning outcomes among their students while using the Mi-STAR curriculum and professional learning program. In 2018, Michigan Tech received funding from the National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program that will be used to increase the number of teachers proficient with Mi-STAR’s NGSS-aligned curriculum and who are prepared to lead reform efforts in their schools, districts and the state.

As of January 2018, Mi-STAR was used by more than 450 teachers in more than 100 schools/districts with an estimated 45,000 students. Nasco was started in 1941 by a vocational agricultural teacher, Norman Eckley. Starting as a simple operation in a two-car garage, Nasco has grown to an enterprise publishing more than 35 different catalogs, with an annual circulation exceeding 5 million, to customers in education, agriculture, healthcare training and lab sampling worldwide featuring materials available for a wide array of educational, training and production needs.

by Jackie Huntoon, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs



Transdisciplinary: Working Across the Campus

Michigan Technological University’s transdisciplinary researchers reach across disciplines and institutional boundaries to solve complex problems that are bigger than a single specialized field.

Kelly Steelman, an assistant professor of cognitive & learning sciences, says diversity is good for problem-solving. If you only have a spoon, the only food you’ll want to eat is soup.

“The more tools you have available to your research team, the more likely you are to consider a variety of solutions and not get stuck always trying to use the same approach to every problem… The more perspectives we bring to the table, the better opportunity we have to create innovative and transformative solutions.”

Read the full story on the Michigan Tech News Website.



On the Road

PhilartpicMyounghoon (Philart) Jeon (CLS/CS) and his three graduate students are attending the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2017 International Annual Meeting, which began October 9-13th, in Austin, Texas.

In addition, Jeon attended the International ACM Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications, held in Oldenburg, Germany, Sept 24-27th. For this year’s conference, Jeon chaired the video program, served as the international panel for the student doctoral colloquium, co-organized the Workshop on User-Centered Design for Automated Driving Systems and served as a chair for the Automated Driving session.

Jeon also presented two work-in-progress papers and one video at the conference:

  • “Blueprint of the Auditory Interactions in Automated Vehicles: Report on the Workshop and Tutorial”
  • “Eyes-free In-vehicle Air Gesture Controls: Auditory-only Displays Reduced Visual Distraction and Workload”
  • “Design Process of Sonically-enhanced Air Gesture Controls in Vehicles”


Tech Offers Computer Science Workshop for K-12 Teachers

Teacher among kids with computers in elementary school class

Michigan Tech is inviting K-12 teachers and administrators to a workshop in August, to help them find ways to bring computer science and programming into their classrooms. The workshop, supported through a Google CS4HS (Computer Science for High Schools) grant, exposes teachers to exciting new ways to bring computer science into schools.

This is the third year Google has supported a computer science workshop at Michigan Tech for teachers.

“As computer technology becomes an ever more powerful and pervasive factor in our world, students need instruction in the creative problem-solving skills that are the basis of computer science,” explains Linda Ott, (CS) director of the workshop.

“Software design and programming skills, along with an understanding of the principles of computer systems and applications, are tremendously valuable in a wide range of future careers, and the problem-solving process of computational thinking can be used to enrich a wide range of K-12 courses. New tools and teaching materials make it possible to bring the creative spirit of computing into K-12 classrooms.

“From a teacher’s perspective, however, bringing computer science into the classroom can seem intimidating,” Ott goes on to say.

“We want to help teachers develop confidence in their own computer science literacy and help them craft a computing curriculum that meets their teaching missions.”

The workshop will cover a basic understanding of computer science principles, help teachers integrate programming into new and existing courses, disseminate K-12 computer programing course materials developed at Michigan Tech and provide tools for increasing interest in computing among young women.

Participants will receive lunches, a stipend to help with travel and other expenses, and a year of assistance in course development from a Michigan Tech computer science graduate student. Out-of-town teachers will receive free accommodation at the Magnuson Franklin Square Inn.

For more information or to apply, click here.