White House Recognizes Belhaven for Innovative Science Education

Desribe Image HereDecember 4, 2014 (Jackson) - Today, President Obama, the First Lady and Vice President Biden will recognize Belhaven University for its commitment to increase the number of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). “America needs to become the leader in science and technology again and Belhaven has the ability to help achieve this national priority,” said Dr. Parrott. 

The White House invited Dr. Parrott and other university presidents being honored to take part in College Opportunity Day of Action where President Obama will announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college. 

Participants in the College Opportunity Day of Action were asked to commit to new action in one of four areas: building networks of colleges around promoting completion, creating K-16 partnerships around college readiness, investing in high school counselors as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative and increasing the number of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Belhaven University has committed to redesign its general core science curriculum for non-science majors. The goal of the redesign is to emphasize the important role of science in our society and economy as well as inspire 10 percent of its students to pursue STEM degrees. The University’s commitment to STEM has already seen a positive increase. “With our new science facilities and aggressive young science faculty, Belhaven’s enrollment in STEM related academic majors increased 34 percent this year, plus 45 students in our brand new School of Nursing,” adds Dr. Parrott. “This new cutting edge curriculum for non-science majors sets us apart as a university that is serious about equipping our students to value science that is part of our everyday lives.”

Two new core courses, Science & Culture I: Physical and Computational Sciences for a Sustainable Future and Science & Culture II: Biological Sciences for a Sustainable Future are the pillars of Belhaven's new approach to teaching science and promoting STEM. Dr. Reid Bishop, Associate Professor of Chemistry, said, “We use science everyday of our lives and I believe that science is an innate function. One of my objectives as a professor is to get my students excited about science and I believe these two classes relate directly to a student’s personal interests in the environment and sustainability.”

President Obama will also announce new steps on how his Administration is helping to support colleges and universities, including announcing $10 million to help promote college completion and a $30 million AmeriCorps program that will improve low-income students’ access to college. Today’s event is the second College Opportunity Day of Action, and will include a progress report on the commitments made at the first day of action on January 14, 2014.

Expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college, especially low-income and underrepresented students, is vital to building a strong economy and a strong middle class.  Today, only 9 percent of those born in the lowest family income quartile attain a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared to 54 percent in the top quartile. In an effort to expand college access, the Obama Administration has increased Pell scholarships by $1,000 a year, created the new American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, limited student loan payments to 10 percent of income, and laid out an ambitious agenda to reduce college costs and promote innovation and competition.

 

For more breaking news, announcements, and upcoming events, visit the Belhaven University News and Information web site.