Worthwhile faculty led community outreach initiatives:

3/10/13 update: RG story on a program by CS professor Kiki Prottsman. Here’s a link to her Thinkersmith.org program.
… For Prottsman — a computer science professor at the University of Oregon, where she earned her master’s in the same discipline in 2011 — this early exposure to computer science and encouragement from her father shaped who she became, and now she wants to give children that same opportunity with her nonprofit Thinkersmith, a 501-c3 charity that introduces children and adults to computer science, ultimately increasing both job opportunities in the future and self-esteem for life, she said. 

“You can shape a child’s mind when they’re young so that challenges excite them,” Prottsman said. “If something hasn’t been solved, you have the opportunity to solve it. You have to look at problems as an opportunity to try new things and not be afraid to make mistakes. Getting those skills early helps with the rest of their career and life.”
… Tom Emmons and Nate Bernstein, of local Web development company Emberex, also donated to the cause. 

The organization kicked off its “Traveling Circuits” program last fall after testing it the spring before. In the program, Prottsman and volunteers visit schools in Eugene and Springfield, teaching things like binary (language), functions, algorithms and robotics. The children make crafts that help them understand and practice these, such as magnets that spell their name in binary — a computer language using 0s and 1s. 

By spring break, Thinker­smith will have held 30 Traveling Circuits sessions in six months.

Many UO professors, instructors, staff and students volunteer in outreach efforts to encourage Oregon students to go to college:

The Summer Academy to Inspire Learning, for low SES Springfield and Bethel area HS students. This is UO’s largest “fill the pipeline” program, and runs week long summer day-camps at UO in Economics, International Studies, Psychology and Neuroscience, Performance Arts, Nanoscience and Human Physiology, Biology, and Journalism. New camps this summer in English, Education and Chemistry. SAIL is also starting an outreach program to send faculty out to local schools to give guest talks. Contact Lara Fernandez to volunteer.

The University of Oregon (UO) Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) offers fellowship opportunities for undergraduate students from other Universities and Colleges to participate in ongoing research in Life Sciences laboratories at UO during the Summer months.

STEM CORE is a consortium of UO science, math and education faculty, STEM outreach and education program coordination staff, community college faculty, K-12 collaborators, STEM industry and government partners and supporters. The primary goal of STEM CORE is to produce a broader and deeper pool of STEM talent in Oregon and nationally through the development of efficient and effective models for student learning and engagement, and by forging new collaborations between education faculty, K-12 educator, science researcher, mathematician, STEM industry and government partnerships. See Inside Oregon, on the efforts of Dean Livelybrooks, Stanley Micklavzina, and others.

From the Office of Equity and Inclusion, the Oregon Young Scholars Program - a free week long residential program at UO for low SES students from Portland. 

From the UO Center for Optics, week long “SPICE camps” for middle schoolers, to encourage women in science.

The University of Oregon Courses for High School Students (UOCHSS) Program is designed for high schools students who would like to take advantage of furlough and non-school days to further their education. UOCHSS offers rigorous courses similar to those offered to college undergraduates, but offered on a smaller scale. 

The RG has a story on a program that sends UO students out to teach philosophy in elementary schools. Great idea. Started by by Paul Bodin from the Ed School and Ted Toadvine from Philosophy.  

Let me know of other similar programs to add to this list. 8/21/2012.

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14 Responses to Worthwhile faculty led community outreach initiatives:

  1. Anonymous says:

    Here’s one more:

    http://academicextension.uoregon.edu/uochss/

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  2. Anonymous says:

    The University of Oregon Courses for High School Students (UOCHSS) Program is designed for high schools students who would like to take advantage of furlough and non-school days to further their education. UOCHSS offers rigorous courses similar to those offered to college undergraduates, but offered on a smaller scale.

    http://academicextension.uoregon.edu/uochss/

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  3. Anonymous says:

    How could all this be getting done without a six figure salary vice president several associate and assistant VIPs and a dozen support staff for them?

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Generally STEM is: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (not Medicine)

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Yes; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is correctly written in the article (& the program it describes)

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    • Anonymous says:

      it was corrected before you saw the error. Thanks for fixing it UO Matters

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  6. UO Matters says:

    Thanks, fixed in text.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    SPUR program http://biology.uoregon.edu/SPUR/

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  8. Anonymous says:

    https://sites.google.com/site/woodburnstempartnership/

    apparently involves UO via its Pine Mountain Observatory

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Huh. And all this time I thought the best way to help people was to file pieces of paper called Action Plans!

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Wait… These can’t have succeeded without being either a big idea or espy cited.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Funny how admins like to take credit for all these faculty initiated outreach programs.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Outreach programs are dandy- Tuition costs being out of reach, are not.
    Lots of students simply can’t afford tuition, and getting into huge debt is not appealing.
    I’m waiting to see if my U of O grad will be able to find a decent job this year- or will he be an overqualified/underpaid barista, or be asking daily… Do you want fries with that?

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Off topic: but who permits vendors like “Play Station 3″ to set up outside of the EMU? Nice message. What are we doing here?

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