Dr. Michael Gealt, dean of UALR’s College of Science, has been elected to the executive committee of EAST Initiative’s Board of Directors.
Established in Greenbrier, Ark., as as antidote for bored, at-risk students, the EAST (Environmental and Spatial Technology) educational model focuses on student-driven service projects accomplished by using teamwork and cutting-edge technology.
Students identify problems in their local communities and use tools such as global positioning system and geographic information system (GPS/GIS) mapping, computer assisted design (CAD) software, 3-D animation suites, virtual reality development, and more to develop solutions, collaborating with civic and other groups in the process.
“EAST has been instrumental in helping students develop an interest in using math and science to solve community problems,” Gealt said. “EAST students have impressed me with their enthusiasm and strong work effort. I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to help EAST in their educational efforts.”
Earlier this year, a team led by Gealt and College of Education Dean Angela Sewall established a collaboration between their colleges to recruit more science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) undergraduates into teacher prep programs so they can teach in these critical areas in public schools.
The new UALRTeach program answers Gov. Mike Beebe’s call to increase the number of secondary school science and mathematics teachers by recruiting more STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – undergraduate students into public schools.
The Governor’s Workforce Group selected UALR to receive $216,000 to support participation in the national UTeach program. Other state universities selected in the program were the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and University of Central Arkansas.
The ultimate goal of UALR’s collaboration is to replicate the UTeach program that started at the University of Texas in Austin and has been replicated at universities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia, and more.
Last August, Beebe announced a $2.68 million initiative involving several programs, including UTeach, New Tech High Schools, where where students are taught practical applications for their class programs; and EASTcore, a program to expose students to Project-Based Instruction in STEM disciplines.