Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

June 2012

USAO Partnership With Oklahoma A+ Schools Celebrated


State officials honor USAO of Oklahoma A+ Schools.
Honoring USAO and Oklahoma A+Schools for their collaboration are state officials at this month's Oklahoma Economic Development Awards event. From left to right are Jean Hendrickson, executive director of Oklahoma A+ Schools, Dr. Glen D. Johnson, chancellor of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education; Rosalynn Wade, A+ Schools; Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb; Erik Guzik, professor of economics at USAO; the Honorable Dave Lopez, secretary of Oklahoma Commerce and Tourism; and USAO President John Feaver.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recently honored a partnership between Oklahoma A+ schools and the University of Science of Arts that seeks to improve creativity skills in the classroom.

In a ceremony that recognized 26 such partnerships between higher education institutions and businesses, Chancellor Glen D. Johnson said, “When businesses partner with higher education, the regional and state economy wins.”

“As economic engines, higher education institutions serve as catalysts for generating ideas and business opportunities.”

In 2011, USAO and Oklahoma A+ Schools introduced the Virtual Problem Solving (VPS) program into a number of classrooms, giving more than 300 students in Oklahoma an opportunity to collaborate and communicate with students all over the world.

“Dr. Guzik’s research speaks to the core of our mission – teaching people to think critically and solve problems,” said USAO President John Feaver. “We salute his ingenuity, especially because it facilitates creativity for learners of all ages.”

Dr. Erik Guzik, an associate professor of economics at USAO, is the architect of the VPS program that seeks to foster creativity in the classroom.

VPS is a web-based technology that allows schools from all over the world to design problem-solving activities that address the specific educational needs of students of any age. It can be accessed by any classroom equipped with basic computer hardware and Internet access.

The Oklahoma A+ Schools program was established in 1998 when the Kirkpatrick Foundation, in conjunction with the Da Vinci Institute, funded a research team to identify successful education reform models that might be replicated in Oklahoma. That research identified North Carolina A+ Schools Program as a promising candidate.

The Oklahoma A+ Schools network now includes 70 schools across the state, spans grades K-12 and has been implemented in both rural and urban school systems.

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