MAY 20, 2009

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OCCC Biotechnology/Bioinformatics Teacher Discovery Project Recognized Nationally

Photo of OCCC biotechnology student.
The Biotechnology/Bioinformatics Teacher Discvery Project at Oklahoma City Community College was recognzed by the National Science Foundation.

Biotechnology is a rapidly emerging field that is transforming the bioscience world.Yet, most science teachers were never exposed to biotechnology in their coursework so they lack knowledge and confidence, as well as budgets and equipment for teaching biotechnology to their students.

The Biotechnology/Bioinformatics Teacher Discovery Project at Oklahoma City Community College has been recognized by the National Science Foundation for removing those barriers by providing professional development during hands-on workshops as well as providing follow-up support from the OCCC Loaner Center in the form of ready-to-go module kits for classroom implementation.

Here are some marks of BBTD success:
• Teachers not only incorporated biotechnology activities into Biology I classes, but more than a dozen initiated a new science elective course, biotechnology, using the BBTD curriculum modules and the Loaner Center to support the course. Prior to the BBTD project, there were no biotechnology high school classes in the state.
• Another welcome surprise occurred when one district required a chemistry prerequisite for their popular new biotechnology course, and saw chemistry enrollment climb as a result.
• Several project teachers used the BBTD modules to support their successful applications to become National Board Certified Teachers.
• Project equipment has supported science fair projects in some schools. One science fair team from an inner-city high school not only won at the state science fair level in 2008, but was selected to go to the International Science Fair in Atlanta. Subsequently, these students became the first in their families to attend college.
• These outcomes have furthered a long-lasting, sustainable impact on students and the need for science teaching and learning in Oklahoma.

For more information on the BBTD program, contact Charlotte Mulvihill at (405) 682-1611, ext. 7225, or cmulvihill@occc.edu.