In an effort to promote excellence in math and science education, East Central University is establishing the Institute for Math and Science Education, thanks to a massive initial donation of $350,000 from Coalgate resident Pauline Lanoy.
Education is vitally important to Lanoy and her late husband Leon. Because of their generous giving, their family name adorns the recently remodeled education building on the ECU campus and the couple have provided funding for a scholarship under their name.
The new Institute for Math and Science Education is a continuation of their generosity.
“My husband was a mathematician and anything that was connected with him, I would go along with him. I felt like if Leon were here, he would support it,” said Pauline. “I look forward to ECU laying the groundwork and that it would be an example to other universities across that state that might pick up the idea.”
Dr. Carl Gilbert, dean of the ECU College of Health and Sciences, says without Pauline Lanoy’s gift, the institute would not be possible.
“Mrs. Lanoy’s vision for education is obvious and we want to help make that vision come to life,” said Gilbert. “This institute will be instrumental in improving math/science education around the state and will be a lasting embodiment of Mrs. Lanoy’s love for education.”
The institute will serve as central unit for the advancement of math/science education at the university, in the local community and around the state, according to Gilbert.
“We’re doing this in hopes of attracting more students into STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and it will be a hub for in-service teachers for developmental purposes,” said Dr. Brenda Sherbourne, dean and professor in the College of Education and Psychology.
According to Gilbert, the institute will serve as means to unify faculty and staff with expertise in math/science education, pre-service math/science education majors and local students, teachers and administrators, for the purpose of promoting excellence in math and science education.
“This will happen as the collaborative assembly hosts an annual math/science education conference, engages in cutting edge pedagogical research, provides professional development and leads to the advancement of best practices in math/science education,” said Gilbert.
Math and science education majors will benefit as they will have access to all resources associated with the institute.
“In addition, the students will be able to work with the institute to support activities in the institute,” Gilbert said. “This could involve judging science fairs, tutoring of public school students, presenting research at professional meetings and assisting with professional development workshops.”
The institute will provide support for math/science education programs and it will contain resources for students to use for lesson and unit planning, textbook adoption, laboratory and simulation activities and manipulative lessons, according to Gilbert.
“The institute will also serve as a liaison between the university and other educational units around the state. Providing opportunities to connect math/science education experts around the state will bring that expertise to the ECU campus and support our math/science education focus,” said Gilbert.
By virtue of the institute, ECU faculty will have the opportunity to become fellows, according to Gilbert. Through this fellowship, faculty will be able to work as a collaborative group with educators locally and from around the state.
“They can engage in math/science education research associated with the institute and be able to assist with professional development workshops that could be provided for in-service and pre-service math and science teachers,” Gilbert said. “The faculty will be able to collaborate on external granting opportunities that would bring additional resources and opportunities to the university and its students.”