Local teacher receives national recognition

One LaGuardia Community College professor is surely getting an A+ for effort.

Dr. Prabha Betne, a mathematics professor, was recently elected a SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities) Leadership Fellow for her leadership and commitment to the improvement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

Betne was selected because of her role as faculty leader and project director in LaGuardia’s Project Quantum Leap (PQL), an innovative effort by the Department of Mathematics, Engineering and Computer Science in collaboration with the LaGuardia Center for Teaching and Learning, to explore new approaches to teaching development math.

“This is recognition of our team’s innovative ideas about making basic skills math education more engaging and meaningful to the students,” said Dr. Betne. “As a Leadership Fellow, I have an opportunity to connect with others in this area to share experiences, guide, provide expertise and support others to advance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.”

During the 18-month fellowship, which runs through June 2011, each of the six newly selected fellows will expand their existing campus work, mentor colleagues and disseminate their results regionally and nationally.

Betne plans on continuing to lead faculty development workshops to develop curricula and instructional approaches for three math courses – introduction to algebra, elementary algebra and college algebra and trigonometry.

Infused in the new curricula and instructional methods is a SENCER approach, an award-winning project that teaches basic skills mathematics by focusing the coursework on real world issues. Using the SENCER approach, students work on math problems in the context of such timely issues as the environment, public health and finance.

“This is a well-deserved recognition,” said Dr. Kamal Hajallie, Chairperson of the Mathematics, Engineering and Computer Science Department. “Dr. Betne has been co-leading our PQL project at LaGuardia for more than three years. PQL is an example of how a collaborative effort between the Mathematics, Engineering and Computer Science Department and the Center for Teaching and Learning can help transform our pedagogy.”


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