AMU establishes Centre of Excellence in STEM-ER
ALIGARH April 15: The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has established a Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics - Education and Research (STEM-ER) in consonance with the Ohio State University (OSU), US, under the ambitious Indo-US 21st Century Knowledge Initiative, earlier known as Obama Singh knowledge Initiative and supported by the US-Indo Education Foundation (USIEF). The STEM-ER project aims at training graduate students to become the world class teachers and researchers at the University level.
This Centre will provide sustenance to the Pilot Project, jointly started under the OSU-AMU partnership, which has developed a novel and unique Dual Degree programme, with a graduate degree from AMU and a newly designed two-year masters of education degree with STEM specialization from OSU, with equal emphasis on advanced research and education. With this centre in saddle, the Aligarh Muslim University will become an ?Innovation Incubator? for advanced teaching and learning in STEM subjects which will ultimately provide fillip to the local, state, national and international STEM Education outreach.
The broader aim of the project also includes its expansion into an Indo-US STEM-ER Consortium of Indian and US Universities, which will encompass higher education institutions across India.
An AMU-OSU Symposium was held under the supervision of Prof. Anil Pradhan, Director and Prof. Sultana N. Nahar, Associate Director, OSU, with Dr. Craig L. Dicker, Counselor, Cultural Affairs, US Embassy, New Delhi as the chief speaker.
Appreciating the efforts of the people both at AMU and OSU to make this pilot dual degree programme a big success, Dr Dicker said that there is a productive symbiotic relationship between teaching and re¨search and our young AMU scholars have embraced this connection in their professional lives.
He said that the AMU scholars, who have spent a semester or two at OSU, already had superlative backgrounds in their fields of specialization, they knew the science and at OSU they were exposed to state of the art teaching methodologies and given opportunities to apply those methods in the undergraduate courses they were teaching at AMU. He said that OSU faculty continued to provide them with mentorship and guidance as they implemented new pedagogical strategies at Aligarh.
Dr Dicker said that this project aims at countering the brain drain by creating a cadre of teacher-researchers at AMU who will continue to work together, feed o? each other and break new ground as they develop a world class educational and re-search program at AMU. The creation of the Centre for Excellence in STEM Education and Research at AMU will serve to ensure that the lessons learned through this initiative are shared widely across India and beyond, he added.
He said that the programme includes an outreach component designed to implement programmes in schools in socio-economically dis¨advantaged communities and learning opportunities in sciences, technolo¨gies, mathematics etc shouldn?t be restricted to those who come from more socio-economically ad¨vantaged backgrounds.
Considering the participation of women scholars in the STEM-ER programme on equal terms as a blessing for the project, Dr Dicker said that in most STEM programmes, the majority of students, in the US, India and elsewhere, are men. By engaging female participants as STEM specialists, this project serves as a role model for creating a gender-balanced programme, he added.
Dr Dicker said that there was no magic bullet to address all the challenges faced by Americans and Indians in providing quality STEM education and conducting world-class research. However, this AMU-OSU joint initiative ?certainly provides some of the answers?, he added.
A pioneering group of four highly qualified research students in science and engineering at AMU was selected in the first-year batch in 2014. They joined the main campus of OSU in Columbus, Ohio for two semesters for graduate courses in state-of-the-art teaching methodologies and advanced scientific research in their respective STEM disciplines, while retaining their status as AMU PhD students.
During the second year of the programme, the students returned to AMU for field experience in undergraduate teaching, implementing the acquired training in advanced pedagogical techniques, including digital instruction, while continuing the remainder of their doctoral research.
A second batch of four AMU students has also been supported in 2016 by the USIEF grant for one semester of research in respective STEM disciplines under the supervision of OSU faculty advisers.
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Aligarh Muslim University
Related PicturesDr Craig with members of the Indo-US (formerly OBAMA¬¨SINGH) STEM ER Project at AMU