Saint Joseph's College Looks to Improve Quantitative Literacy with Grant from INSGC

June 20, 2012

Saint Joseph's College has received a $10,000 grant from the Indiana Space Grant Consortium (INSGC) to expand quantitative literacy across SJC's curriculum. This will be accomplished through faculty development using newly acquired Vernier technology and the implementation of hands-on interdisciplinary classroom experiences aligned with NASA and INSGC goals. Vernier creates world-class data-collection solutions for teachers and offers a full line of award-winning interfaces, sensors, software, and curriculum that help engage students through hands-on scientific exploration.

Professor of Mathematics Dr. Karen Donnelly and Assistant Professor of Mathematics Marge McIlwain, along with Associate Professor of Physics and Computer Science and INSGC Affiliate Director Dr. Jennifer Coy, will deliver a faculty development workshop using Vernier technology in August. Ten professors will be selected based on their commitment to quantitative literacy in at least one course they currently teach, their willingness to learn new technologies, and their commitment to implement at least one hands-on classroom experience per semester during the next school year.

Four undergraduate students will assist with the workshop development and implementation. The workshop topics include an overview of expectations, curriculum development resources, lesson plan development, classroom implementation tips, and assessment procedures. At the workshop conclusion, each professor will have completed 20 lesson plans ready for use in their courses.

Just prior to school starting, a refresher session will be offered, and the facilitators and students will provide assistance to faculty in their classrooms during the academic year as needed. Participating faculty will be given a pre- and post-survey regarding the effectiveness of the lesson plans/use of technology in their courses.

"In an increasingly quantitative and data-driven world, quantitative literacy is essential for our students," said Donnelly. "Employers expect our graduates to have a wide range of quantitative skills to succeed in their jobs. The focus of the faculty development workshop sponsored by this grant is to help faculty create hands-on activities with data acquisition equipment that will enhance students' quantitative thinking."

For more information, contact Karen Donnelly at

Saint Joseph's College, named a "character-building college" by the Templeton Foundation and a "best Midwestern college" by the Princeton Review, is a four-year, Catholic college offering 27 majors, 4 group majors, 34 minors, and 9 pre-professional programs, complemented by the nationally acclaimed Core Program. Founded and sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, SJC is located in Rensselaer, Indiana, approximately 90 minutes from both Chicago and Indianapolis, on a park-like campus of 180 acres and has an enrollment of 1,100 students.

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