Larry Flick’s office in Oregon State University’s Weniger Hall has a line of filing cabinets covered in science-themed toys: Rubik’s Cubes, metal puzzles, magnetic spinners. A lowly windup robot fizzles shortly after only a few steps.
“It really only goes in a circle,” the new dean of OSU’s College of Education said with a chuckle.
Many of the toys are leftovers from Flick’s time as a middle school science teacher, a job he held in Indiana for 13 years.
Flick, the former chair of the Science and Mathematics Education Department within OSU’s College of Science, will continue bridging science with education as the dean of the College of Education, a job he began last month.
Due to university-wide academic realignments, the College of Education will begin to oversee the Science and Mathematics Education Department. (The education and science colleges have joined the College of Liberal Arts within the Division of Arts and Sciences.)
The move offers the College of Education a chance to amp up its focus on the teaching of science, technology, engineering and math. Commonly known as STEM areas, it’s a hot area of research, and that means a significant amount of grant money is available.
The college is preparing for this new focus at the same time that Education Hall is undergoing renovation. The classroom space on the fourth and top floor of the building will be outfitted with video and audio technology designed to do research on the teaching of STEM areas and also be used to educate on how to teach STEM-area courses.
“It becomes a facility that fosters the work we do,” Flick said.
The college also proposed a cohesive Center for Research in Lifelong STEM Learning that will engage several departments around campus last year.
But even in the midst of change, the college’s double-degree undergraduate teacher preparation program, adult and higher education leadership graduate programs and counseling programs aren’t going anywhere. The college also will continue to focus on cultural and linguistic diversity programs.
The elementary education graduate program is suspended, Flick said, until college officials decide if it’s financially feasible to continue to offer it.
Education Hall remains under construction as the 109-year-old building is renovated. Construction on the first floor classrooms is expected to be completed by fall. The second- and third-floor classroom and office space is expected to be finished by spring 2013.
Contact Gazette-Times reporter Gail Cole at 541-758-9510 or email@example.com