Integrating Arts and STEM Renewed by Dodge Foundation

Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE) was recently awarded a $45,000 grant by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to support the integration of Arts and STEM pedagogical practices into GSE’s Teacher Education Program.

Last year the Dodge Foundation provided $42,000 in funding to launch the program which included a year-long arts integration professional-development series for New Jersey teachers from four school districts (Jamesburg, Neptune, Perth Amboy, and Plainfield). This year the primary focus of the project is to promote arts integration as an integral component of Teacher Education.

“Curriculum enriched by arts integration provides innovative and meaningful learning experiences for students,” said Dr. Saundra Tomlinson-Clarke, Primary Investigator on the grant and Associate Professor at the GSE. “Connecting arts integration with Pre-service Teacher Education creates a partnership focused on improving teacher effectiveness and increasing student engagement in learning.”

As part of their coursework, pre-service teachers will engage in learning experiences designed to deepen their knowledge of the connections between the Arts and STEM. New Jersey teachers will demonstrate arts-integrated pedagogical practices used in their classrooms with their students.

“Finding ways to bring the knowledge base of practicing teachers to our students and create opportunities for our students and faculty to serve local schools in coordinated and meaningful ways should be central in our work,” notes Dr. Nora Hyland, Professor and Chair of the Teacher Education Committee at the GSE. “This Dodge Grant is a great example of the kinds of mutually beneficial partnerships that are possible.”

Teachers will share their learning modules that were developed last year during the arts-integrated professional development series. The learning modules integrate creative inquiry-based teaching and learning throughout the curriculum, assisting preK-12 students in developing complex cognitive skills associated with increased motivation and improved academic achievement.

Seminars and workshops will be designed to provide pre-service teachers with rich experiences, demonstrations, and discussions in support of creativity and innovation. As part of the experiences that increase understanding of arts integration methodologies, Mr. Jim Jack, Director of Education of George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ will engage learners in a theatrical investigation. Pre-service teachers also will participate in discussions focused on assessment and evaluation of curriculum moderated by Ms. Willa Spicer.

“As we look to the future, it will be important to continue to integrate arts education as one of the fundamental areas of knowledge for aspiring teachers so that their classroom practice will reflect commitment to advancing the arts in society for ALL learners preK-12.” Co-Primary Investigator, Dr. Penelope Lattimer, is the Director of Rutgers Institute for Improving Student Achievement (RIISA) and the New Jersey School Development Council (NJSDC). Her office seeks to build networks and partnerships with districts and communities in New Jersey.

To learn more about last year’s professional-development program integrating Arts and STEM pedagogical practices, please click here.