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Fort Collins, Colo. – Front Range Community College will participate in a cooperative grant to improve undergraduate teaching in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This National Science Foundation (NSF) grant will be run jointly with the University of Colorado-Boulder and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

The project is formally called “Collaborative Research: Promoting Research-based Instructional Methods for Enhancing and Reforming STEM Education” (PRIMERS).  The primary goal of the PRIMERS project is to move undergraduate STEM instructors toward instructional methods that are more centered on the students. This approach to teaching fosters more active learning by using an existing evidence-based professional development program for STEM teachers.

The PRIMERS grant is funded by the NSF’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education initiative. This initiative supports projects that have the potential to improve student learning through development of new curricular materials and methods of instruction.

Geography Faculty Patrick ShabramGeography professor Patrick Shabram is co-principal investigator for PRIMERS—and FRCC’s lead on the project. For the upcoming project, he will collaborate with the PRIMERS team to customize a professional development program, peer mentoring program, and roundtable discussion series for FRCC’s full-time faculty and part-time instructors (at all of the college’s campuses). Shabram will also: assist in recruiting participants, co-facilitate roundtable discussions at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and the University of Colorado-Boulder, and help analyze the program’s effectiveness.

Shabram is already the principal investigator of FRCC’s established Geo-Launchpad initiative, a collaborative grant with UNAVCO, an NSF facility based in Boulder. Geo-Launchpad aims to develop pathways for community college students to continue their studies and future careers in geoscience related STEM fields.

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About Front Range Community College

FRCC offers nearly 100 degree and certificate programs from locations in Boulder County, Larimer County, Westminster, and Brighton, and online. FRCC is a member of the Colorado Community College System.

 About the Colorado Community College System

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, serving more than 137,000 students annually at 13 colleges and 39 locations across Colorado. CCCS’s open access mission ensures that all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities. CCCS students save time and money with affordable tuition and fees, concurrent enrollment and guaranteed transfer to any public university in Colorado. Online courses are available via Colorado Community Colleges Online. CCCS also oversees career and technical programs in its 13 colleges, more than 160 school districts and 6 other post-secondary institutions. By partnering with business and industry, CCCS helps employers meet workforce needs and prepares students for direct entry to their chosen career pathway. The vast majority of CCCS students are Colorado residents and, after graduation, 97% of CCCS students stay in state becoming the workforce that powers the Colorado economy and the heart of its neighborhoods, businesses and communities.

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