Yellow Pages |   News Updates |   Events Calendar |   Movie Times | Recycling
Rocklin & Roseville Today Local Events

Development Program for High School and College Faculty


Rocklin, CA -- In response to the growing demand for graduates with critical thinking skills, the Sierra College STEM Collaborative established an innovative professional development program -- Applied Critical Thinking for Advanced Technological Education (ACTivATE)

In June, faculty from Northwestern Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching trained 12 Sierra College and high school faculty to develop curriculum that incorporates applied critical thinking. Through a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, Enhancing Critical Thinking in STEM Disciplines: A Faculty Development Model, the Searle Center designed, piloted and studied a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) faculty development program focused on improving higher order learning outcomes of STEM students.

On many levels, Sierra College's approach is groundbreaking according to Denise Drane, Associate Director, Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching, Northwestern University. "Applied critical thinking has rarely been addressed in faculty development programs at the high school level," said Drane. "And students are rarely asked to demonstrate a deeper understanding of critical thinking in an applied setting. In addition, the relationships that Sierra College and high school instructors have with employers are uncommon in education." 

Through the Sierra College workforce development programs, the need for critical thinking was uncovered, explained Carol Pepper-Kittredge, Director, Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT). "The strong ties that Sierra College has with employers will lead to the incorporation of current, workplace applications into critical thinking lessons. Faculty will be able to use real examples from local businesses," said Pepper-Kittredge, who manages the Sierra College STEM Collaborative. 

For the next nine months, the ACTivATE project will support participants as they develop new approaches to overtly teach applied critical thinking in their classrooms.  Instructors will also develop and pilot test hands-on demonstrations to assess students' understanding and align with the new Common Core State Standards. 

"ACTivATE coaches will offer one-on-one support to faculty throughout the project," said Pepper-Kittredge. The Sierra College STEM Collaborative will hold two additional ACTivATE professional development sessions for participants in 2013-14. Findings and applied critical thinking lessons will be published at the conclusion of the project.

A pioneering aspect of the ACTivATE project is that it includes a mix of math, English and Career Technical Education (i.e. welding, media, pre-engineering and Mechatronics) instructors at the high school and college levels, sharing ideas to create lessons that stimulate deeper learning.

 "Those who teach technical education courses seem more in-tune with critical thinking because so much trouble shooting is already part of what they teach," said Drane. "During training, the instructors demonstrated an eagerness to share ideas, challenges and feedback across their disciplines and institutions."

Drane explained that teaching critical thinking skills has been focused primarily at the college level and incorporated almost exclusively into theoretical courses. "Critical thinking should be developed across all disciplines and stages of education to better prepare students for college and careers," said Drane.  

Sierra College STEM Collaborative

The Sierra STEM Collaborative is funded by California Community College Chancellor's Office, to create a pipeline of students interested in technical careers. Students can pursue Welding, Mechatronics, Engineering, Energy Technology and Drafting & Engineering Support at Sierra College For information about the ACTivATE professional development project, go to  or contact Carol Pepper-Kittredge, Sierra College at (916) 660-7801.

Follow on Facebook

Placer County News Headlines

Halloween Tips to Protect your PetRoseville, CA - Pet owners' goals should be to take all of the necessary steps to minimize these potential hazards, keep your pet secure at home, and ensure a safe and fun Halloween for all."

Free Medical Clinic at Cal Expo October 28- 30A free Medical Clinic offering medical, vision and dental care to those in need will take place October 28- 30 at Cal Expo.

Year-to-Date Regional Savings Exceeds 23 PercentRoseville, CA - Area residents reduced water use 15 percent in September compared to the same month in 2013, according to an analysis by the Regional Water Authority

Placer County Announces Parks and Trail Master PlanAUBURN, Calif. -- One of the many things that make Placer County a great place to live, work and play are our many local parks and trails

Placer Arts Studio Tour and Activities in NovemberRoseville, CA- The 23rd Annual PlacerArts Studios Tour will take place November 11-13, 2016.

West Sacramento Chili Cook-Off at Raley Field in NovemberWEST SACRAMENTO - The West Sacramento Chili Cook-off will be November 19, 2016 from 6 to 10pm in the Legacy Club at Raley Field, and gives Sacramento area residents

Public Invited to Sierra College Patrons MeetingRocklin, CA - The Sierra College Patrons, a support group of the Sierra College Foundation, invite the public and those interested in becoming members of the organization to attend

Roseville and Rocklin Men among those Caught in StingDuring a two-day sting operation last week (October 19-20, 2016) in Folsom (Sacramento County), investigators from CSLB's Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) cited 35 people for various illegal contracting charges.

In Roseville: Creating an Ecosystem of EntrepreneurshipWhat do Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln, Auburn, Foresthill, Loomis, Colfax, Kings Beach and Tahoe City all have in common?

Solutions sought in North Tahoe Affordable Housing CrisisKINGS BEACH, Calif. -- Placer County continues to work on ways to improve workforce housing in the North Lake Tahoe region.

Send Silence Packing hosted by Sierra CollegeRocklin, CA - Send Silence Packing is a nationally recognized traveling exhibition of 1,100 donated backpacks, representing the number of college students lost to suicide

Harvest Carnival for Deaf Children in RocklinROCKLIN, Calif., - William Jessup University's American Sign Language Program will host a free Harvest Carnival for all children learning or wanting to learn sign language

NEWS: In Case You Missed It