posted February 21, 2001

Science Partnerships Examined

A national group of high school and
college faculty that creates school-college partnerships in
science education will meet at Hope College on Friday and
Saturday, March 2 and 3, to consider the future of such
ventures.

"We've been at this for several years, working
more or less anonymously," said Dr. Donald Cronkite, founder
of the group and professor of biology at Hope. "Now
suddenly partnerships are in the limelight. Even George W.
Bush has made partnerships a part of his education program."

Cronkite's organization, called "Forging a Link,"
began when a group of the best high school teachers in the
country and an equal number of college faculty gathered at
Hope College to consider two questions: "What do we have in
common?" and "What can we do to help each other?"

"At the end of that meeting we were all inspired
to go out and form a partnership," Cronkite said. Results
included a joint high school-college research project on
pollution in roof run-off in New Orleans, La.; a monthly
discussion group of college and high school teachers to keep
up on biology in Tacoma, Wash.; extensive involvement of a
biology professor in new teacher preparation in rural South
Carolina; and high school teachers in Massachusetts and
Maryland serving as teacher mentors for new college faculty.

"All in all about 20 new partnerships or renewals
of on-going ones came out of that conference, and now we
meet each year for ideas and encouragement," Cronkite said.

According to Cronkite, the renewed national
interest in partnerships has encouraged the group to build
for the future. This year's meeting will focus on assessing
and maintaining partnerships and using current partnerships
to spawn new ones.

Most of the meeting will consist of small working
groups writing about their experiences. A keynote address
at the college's Haworth Inn and Conference Center on
Friday, March 2, at 8:30 a.m. will feature Charles Drewes,
professor of biology at Iowa State University, who will
present "LINKS: Keys to Science Credibility and
Sustainability." The general public is invited to the
keynote address. Admission is free.