WMU News

Upton family honored with dedication of science labs

July 3, 2003

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. --Western Michigan University officials will join members of the Frederick S. Upton Foundation in announcing a recent gift and a new initiative for area teachers at 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, July 8, at the WMU-Southwest facility on the campus of Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor.

University officials will dedicate two state-of-the-art science laboratories in honor of the Upton family while showcasing an innovative program created especially for science educators working in Berrien County. Faculty and school leaders involved with the project believe enhancing educators' skills inside the lab could translate into classroom success by improving student performance on the MEAP tests, increasing student interest in science, and cultivating more talent for science careers.

According to the Michigan Treasury Department, 73 percent of the state's fifth-graders exceeded or met Michigan science standards on the MEAP exam in 2002. Among eighth-graders, about 65 percent tested at or above grade level. Graduates in the class of 2002 posted similar showings, but still, a full 41 percent of them performed only at basic or apprentice levels on the science portion of the MEAP.

The Upton gift is an investment in students, teachers and the future of science education.

"In many of our teacher education programs, preservice teachers are often hearing about science and observing others do demonstrations," says Dr. Joseph Stoltman, a WMU professor of geography and science academy instructor. "But at the level of science they're studying, they're not engaged and doing the experiments themselves. Teachers need the tools to teach and they need the opportunity to develop the disposition that encourages them to jump in and do the science right along with the students."

Members of the media are invited to watch hands-on science demonstrations following the 11:30 a.m. dedication ceremony, Tuesday, July 8, at WMU-Southwest, which is located at 2785 E. Napier Ave. in Benton Harbor. University officials and Berrien County teachers from Benton Harbor to Buchanan will be available for comment. To arrange or confirm coverage, call Thom Myers, Office of University Relations, at (269) 387-8710.

Media contact: Gail Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

WMU News
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