The Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE) awarded Associate Professor of Biology John Niedzwiecki with an Education and Outreach Grant. The grant is provided for Local and Regional Outreach Promoting the Understanding of Evolutionary Biology. Niedzwiecki also received an SSE grant in 2009. The successful grant proposal was developed with the help of Dr. Lauren Lunsford in Education, Dr. Noel Boyle in Philosophy and Drs. Judy Skeen and Mark McEntire in the School of Religion. The grant was matched by the Middle Tennessee STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Innovation Hub. The STEM Hub provides a valuable exchange network of ideas and resources for K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and network partners to serve the STEM needs of Middle Tennessee.
The grant, titled “Teaching Through Touchy Topics, Not Around Them: Evolution, Religion, and Evolving Standards for Teaching,” will fund a workshop hosted by Belmont biology, religion, education and philosophy faculty. This free workshop will help K-12 Science teachers in Middle Tennessee teach this keystone science concept correctly within the preview of science using the latest findings in biology and pedagogy but with sensitivity to and appreciation of the different religious perspectives of their students, including the incorporation of information and evidence of the material world into their spiritual worldview. Evolution is the foundational theory of the science of biology. Understanding evolution and natural selection is essential to understanding all aspects of biology, and to make connections across biology. The day-long workshop will be held on April 26 at Belmont University.