May 2, 2011

Engineering for Professionals gives Md. STEM teachers free grad education

The Johns Hopkins University’s Engineering for Professionals, part of the Whiting School of Engineering, will provide free tuition beginning with the summer term to Maryland public and private high school teachers who want to further their professional development in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.

“STEM teachers can have great influence on whether or not their students pursue higher education and careers in engineering and science,” said Alison Milligan, executive director of Engineering for Professionals, or EP, which enrolls 2,300 working engineers and scientists annually. “We value our high school teachers and want to provide them with every opportunity to increase their expertise in these critical subject areas.”

She added, “Our EP faculty are experts in their fields and bring fresh and relevant experiences to each class. STEM teachers enrolled in EP courses will have the opportunity to learn from our program’s outstanding faculty, in addition to benefiting from studying alongside other engineering and science professionals.”

Nicholas P. Jones, the Benjamin T. Rome Dean of the Whiting School, has made STEM outreach activities a priority and has pledged to help reverse a trend among the nation’s youth that has them falling behind in STEM subjects. Statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics, for example, show that U.S. 15-year-olds placed in the bottom third and bottom quarter for science and math literacy, respectively, among 30 developed countries.

“Many of our initiatives are national and international in scope,” Jones said. “But universitywide, we are also committed to our local community and to improving educational opportunities for all Marylanders. We believe this strategy dovetails nicely with Gov. Martin O’Malley’s challenge to build a top technically trained workforce in Maryland.”

EP’s 15 graduate programs, in areas such as applied mathematics, environmental science and biomedical engineering, focus on real-world applications of technology and science. STEM teachers will now have a tuition-free opportunity to learn firsthand how the concepts they teach in their classrooms are relevant to future technological advances, and they will be better able to share this knowledge with their students.

“When I first heard about this program, I thought, This is really too good to be true,” said Kenneth Gill, university liaison for the Howard County Public School System. “The STEM program is a unique opportunity for our teachers to attend one of the most prestigious universities in the world and learn from those who are currently practicing in their fields. The benefits to our students will be incredible. I commend Johns Hopkins and the Whiting School for committing their resources to this program.”

Enrollment in the program is open and rolling, and it is being offered on a first-come, first-served basis with spaces reserved for up to two STEM teachers per course. Teachers may take one tuition-free course each term (summer, fall and spring) and are subject to the same admission requirements as applicants to all EP programs.

EP offers hundreds of courses ranging from robotics to financial and contract management to molecular biology. Courses are held weekdays in the late afternoons and evenings as well as throughout the day on Saturdays at eight locations in the Baltimore/Washington area. More than 80 courses are offered online. Registration began in late March for summer classes, which begin May 31.

For more information about the EP STEM program, call 800-548-3647 or go to www