Tift College of Education, Penfield College to Host First Mercer STEAM Day


ATLANTA – Mercer University's Tift College of Education and Penfield College are organizing the first Mercer STEAM Day on May 3, in addition to supporting the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) in its efforts to promote Georgia STEM Day on May 6.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and STEAM adds art into the equation. The goal of both STEM and STEAM initiatives is to equip students with skills required of 21st century workers.

Mercer's STEAM Team, composed of Tift College professor Dr. Cynthia Anderson, Dr. Sharon Augustine, Dr. Jabari Cain, Dr. Jeff Hall, dr. deb rosenstein, Dr. Karen Swanson and Dr. Clemmie Whatley and Penfield College professors Dr. Colleen Stapleton and Dr. Sabrina Walthall, will provide professional development activities for pre-service teachers on May 3, which will consist of integrated STEAM learning for K-12 teachers.

“Mercer must be engaged in preparing students to become well qualified and competent with the skills and systems thinking required in STEAM fields of study. Tift College of Education and Penfield play a major role in producing educators who will influence children's educational and career pathways,” said Dr. Whatley. “In many instances, the pre-service and in-service teachers we serve are not fully prepared to facilitate children's learning through interactive, integrated, exciting STEM or STEAM experiences. The STEAM team believes that a long-term strategic focus on STEM education is needed that will support STEAM-ready educators.”

Mercer faculty have been involved in a variety of other STEAM initiatives through coursework, community service and grant activities.

“As the need for STEAM practitioners increases throughout society, from K-12 classrooms to cutting-edge industries, Mercer is committed to providing STEAM education initiatives to meet this demand,” said Dr. Hall. “In particular, Penfield College and Tift College of Education are focused on providing engaging and inspiring STEAM education initiatives for educators and students alike. These activities are designed to spark the imagination and discover the many ways that STEAM impacts our lives.”

Members of the STEAM Team have been modifying their courses to integrate more STEAM activities. This includes Summer in Atlanta's City Parks, an integrated classroom and field-based course in which students combine study of environmental and social sciences to understand how cities might address issues arising from climate change. Additionally, a service-learning component has been implemented into a microbiology course, and students are being introduced to the scientific method and Next Generation Science Standards in multiple ways.

dr. rosenstein, associate professor of education, is a Master School Gardener and has been incorporating garden-based learning in her classes. She hosted a pop-up show in the Swilley Library on Earth Day to promote the Lexicon of Sustainability, an organization that seeks to create dialogue regarding how individuals and communities can work together to strengthen local food systems.

Dr. Walthall, associate professor of science in Penfield College, is board president of Real Impact, an organization that provides youth with support in academic and prevention services in order to develop intelligent and motivated people to actively change the times through a STEM and literary focus. Real Impact recently hosted a “STEMtastic Saturday” in March and its inaugural “Girls Will Be Women in STEAM” conference in April, both aimed at teaching girls across Middle Georgia about science, technology, engineering and math.

The STEAM Team exhibited at North Springs High School's STEAM event in February. The event included high school students as well as students from middle and elementary schools in Fulton County.

Dr. Hall, assistant professor of education, in working with Georgia Southern University on a grant initiative known as Real STEM, which is focused on increasing the STEM pipeline, developing STEM-literate citizens and developing 21st-century reasoning skills through providing students real-world, authentic learning experiences.

Penfield and Tift faculty are collaborating on a grant initiative known as InTeGrate to improve earth literacy among students and among Georgia's in-service teachers.

Dr. Augustine, chair of teacher education, associate professor and program director for Mercer's Woodrow Wilson Georgia Teaching Fellowship, has led development of a Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary Education STEM program that will be offered beginning this summer on the Macon campus in conjunction with the fellowship.

Members of the STEAM Team were also involved in developing a publication, titled “STEM Endorsements: A Pathway to Improve K-12 STEM Teacher Capacity,” which serves as a resource for examining the need for a STEM endorsement in Georgia by the Professional Standards Commission through a Governor's Office of Student Achievement grant.

Mercer has been involved with TAG for several years through the College Hill Alliance, and, in 2014, the Office of Enrollment Management extended that partnership to allow students and faculty members in Penfield College, the Stetson School of Business and Economics and Tift College of Education to become members and participate in professional development activities. The University plans to collaborate with TAG to host on-campus programs aimed at better preparing students for the workforce.

About the Tift College of Education

Mercer University's Tift College of Education – with campuses in Macon, Atlanta and the University's three Regional Academic Centers – prepares more professional educators than any other private institution in Georgia. The College offers baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and is guided by the conceptual framework of the “Transforming Practitioner,” which supports those who aspire to grow professionally throughout their careers, while also seeking to transform the lives of students. education.mercer.edu

About Penfield College of Mercer University

Penfield College of Mercer University, established as the College of Continuing and Professional Studies in 2003, is committed to serving non-traditional learners and currently enrolls more than 1,300 students. Undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs are offered to working adult learners seeking professional advancement into leadership roles in and beyond their communities. Educational programs provide students with distinctive, multidisciplinary programs that integrate theory and practice. The College offers general education and elective courses for various colleges and schools at Mercer. Another initiative called the Bridge program transitions students enrolled in Mercer's English Language Institute and other international students to undergraduate programs throughout the University. Areas of study include organizational leadership, counseling, school counseling, human services, human resources, informatics, public safety leadership, nursing preparation, liberal studies, psychology and communication. Programs are offered on Mercer's campuses in Atlanta and Macon, as well as multiple regional academic centers in Douglas County, Henry County and Newnan, and online. To learn more, visit penfield.mercer.edu.